TAKEAWAYS are targeted in a major shake-up of planning rules in County Durham.

Under proposals outlined in the County Durham Plan, which sets development policies in the county until 2035, fish and chip and kebab shops and Indian takeaways all face restrictions.

The document, which took its next step to being formally adopted yesterday, could see limits placed on the number of fast food outlets permitted within specific areas – particularly near schools.

“The plan is designed to future-proof County Durham,” said Cllr Carl Marshall, cabinet member for economic regeneration.

“It delivers 5,390 new homes that people need in the locations where they are needed. It helps us to address the causes of climate change and adapt to its effects. It sets out a restriction on takeaways in our town centres and close to our schools. It creates more and better jobs for our residents, with over 302 hectares of land allocated to be developed specifically for business and industry.”

Policies in the County Durham Plan include building almost 25,000 homes in the county, identifying land to be protected or given over to industrial use and include provision for major infrastructure projects such as proposed Durham relief roads– the proposed Western Relief Road, linking the B6302 near Stonebridge to the A691 at Sniperley, and a Northern Relief Road connecting Newton Hall and the A690 east of Belmont.

One suggested new rule would prevent approval of applications that would see more than five per cent of premises in town centres used as hot food takeaways.

The proposed "Policy 31" could also see planned eateries turned down automatically if they are within 400 metres of a school of college "in order to promote healthy lifestyles".

After being given the green light by cabinet today, the plan will now go before a full meeting of Durham County Council before it is passed on to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government for the final approval process, which includes an "examination in public" led by a government-appointed planning inspector.

Iain Thompson, the council’s corporate director of Regeneration and Local Services said: “We’re well on our way to having a plan that will give certainty of our future development to our residents and businesses, help prevent unwanted speculative development and provide policies to help our planning committees make decisions.”