Preston named Britain's unhealthiest high street, while Shrewsbury comes out as healthiest

High street
How healthy is your high street? (Source: Getty)

Do you live near one of the UK's unhealthiest high streets?

If your local town has a high proportion of bookies, loan shops, tanning salons and fast-food outlets, quite possibly.

The Royal Society for Public Health has compiled a league table of the high streets that have a “negative impact” on health based on the type of business that can be found – and the findings show that the majority appear in the Midlands and north of England.

The top 10 healthiest places were more widely spread around Britain, including two spots in Scotland, some in the north and a smattering around the south east and west.

These are the 10 most unhealthy high streets in Britain:

1. Preston

2. Middlesbrough

3. Coventry

4. Blackpool

5. Northampton

6. Wolverhampton

7. Grimsby

8. Huddersfield

9. Stoke-on-Trent

10. Eastbourne

Businesses were scored by more than 2,000 members of the public, and by public health and local government experts, on the extent to which they encouraged healthy choices, promoted social interaction, provided access to health advice and promoted positive mental wellbeing.

High streets with more leisure centres, independent cafes and health services were deemed to be better for our wellbeing, with Shrewsbury, in Shropshire, named as having the "healthiest" high street in the country.

The Society has called for a limit of five per cent of each "unhealthy" type of business on a high street to avoid saturation.

Here are the healthiest high streets in Britain:

1. Shrewsbury

2. Ayr

3. Salisbury

4. Perth

5. Hereford

6. Carlisle

7. Cambridge

8. Cheltenham

9. York

10. Bristol

(Source: The Royal Society for Public Health)

Chief executive Shirley Cramer said: "Our research does find higher concentrations of unhealthy businesses exist in places which already experience high levels of deprivation and premature mortality.”

Local authorities should be given more planning powers to limit the numbers of certain types of businesses on high streets, she added.

The society is also campaigning for public health criteria to be a condition of licensing for all types of business. It also wants mandatory food hygiene ratings linked to calorie and nutrition labelling for fast food outlets and for councils to be able to set varying business rates to encourage healthier outlets.

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