Fast-food giant McDonald’s has criticised plans to ban takeaways near schools in Swindon.

The draft update of the local plan put forward by Swindon Borough Council is currently out for public comments.

And while the document is primarily concerned with how the town develops, it has stipulations on much smaller matters.

One is whether takeaways can open within 400 metres' walking distance of a school.

The council’s plan says: “Some areas of the borough have seen the development of an increased concentration of takeaways, drinking establishments, betting offices and payday loan shops.

“Concentrations of these uses have been linked to adult and childhood obesity, and the decline in the vitality of and footfall within centres.”

If the policy remains, planners and councillors will be able to take account of the number of such places in an area and the “cumulative effect” when considering an application for another one.

But McDonald’s does not like the idea and has lodged an objection.

The company – via its planning agent Planware Ltd – told the council: “There is no sound reason for the policy or a blanket ban on restaurants that include a takeaway element within 400m of a school.

“It is unsound and should be deleted from the plan.”

The Adver contact McDonald’s and asked the chain to expand on its comments, but it did not want to say any more.

Figures released late last year showed that 19 per cent – nearly one in five – of children leaving primary school in Swindon were clinically obese.

Public Health England has praised the 40 local authorities that try to control the number of takeaway restaurants and it is official government policy to encourage others to make restrictions on such outlets in areas “where children and young people congregate such as schools, community centres and playgrounds and areas with high levels of obesity, deprivation and general poor health”.

The public consultation on the local plan runs until January 31.