A PLAN to convert a prominent former bank building into a takeaway in a ward that already has more than 40 such outlets and where more than a quarter of children are obese is to go under the microscope.

A 31-year-old businesswoman listed by Companies House as both Wai Sin Singh and Wai Sin Zhang has applied to Darlington Borough Council for planning application to transform the Blackwellgate premises that Royal Bank of Scotland closed in 2018 as part of nationwide cutbacks.

Documents submitted to the authority, which also include a proposal to convert the upper floors of the former bank into two furnished flats, do not reveal the type of takeaway that is proposed, but do state the business would aim to open between 9am and midnight every day.

While the council’s Conservative administration aims to strengthen the night-time economy to help town centre regeneration, particularly in its pedestrianised heart, environmental health officers have raised concerns over the impact of noise from the proposed business on nearby residents.

They have stated the upper floors of the three-storey building should be kept as offices, saying “there will be noise from customers accessing and exiting the premises especially late at night”. Environmental health officers said residents would also be affected by noise from businesses in the area, many of which have late opening hours and will play amplified music.

The concerns follow the authority launching its Childhood Healthy Weight Plant 2019-2024, which highlighted how the  increasing consumption of meals out of the home or takeaways had been identified as an important factor contributing to rising levels of obesity.

After government figures showed Park East had 27.5 per cent of children classed as obese, it was agreed the council’s Director of Public Health would intervene in licensing applications where there were concerns over the density of takeaways in an area and the weight of children living there.

While a meeting of the borough’s health and wellbeing board in 2018 heard Park East had reached “saturation point” over takeaways, members were told the action plan would make choosing to eat a healthy diet an easier option.

Park East councillor Cyndi Hughes said she would decide the Blackwellgate application on its merits. She added: “As ward councillor I will certainly be making a representation and I will also be contacting the Director of Public Health on the matter.”