BOLTON’S leaders have hit back after the town’s high street was named among the ‘unhealthiest’ in the country.
In a study published yesterday by the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH), the town was judged to be the seventh unhealthiest in the UK.
Shrewsbury is only Midlands town among Britains top 10 healthiest high streets
The research found that residents living in towns with lots of bookies and off-licences die younger than those with plenty of libraries and pharmacies.
Home News Sport Services Entertainment Search News All News Local Hubs Voices Crime Business Education Health More Politics Farming Property Motors Transport UK News Nostalgia World News Featured articles Dual The A5 Cash For Your Community 2018 Features Find news for your town Advertising
It has far more independent cafes than greasy take-aways, is home to Britains favourite market hall, and has resisted the influx of betting shops and payday lenders that now dominate town centres up and down the country.
Shrewsbury town centre has a lot going for it – and it can now lay claim to being one of Britains healthiest high streets.
It was one of 70 major towns and cities in the UK ranked in a new league table by the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) on the impact of their high streets on the publics health and well-being.
Shrewsbury came fourth in the national list – the only town or city in the Midlands to make the top 10 – while Walsall, Stoke-on-Trent and Wolverhampton all ranked among the 10 unhealthiest.
Things like tanning shops, bookmakers and boarded up premises were penalised, with judges instead awarding points for businesses which contribute towards a healthy lifestyle.
To see Shrewsbury ranking so highly in the UKs 10 healthiest High Streets is fantastic news and an endorsement that affirms the town as a go-to destination and a great place to live,” said Seb Slater, executive director of Shrewsbury Business Improvement District.
“In the last few weeks, weve welcomed a number of both independent businesses and national brands, boosting our full Christmas offering and keeping our high street healthy in every sense of the word.
The RSPH looked favourably on pubs and bars for encouraging people to socialise, as well as the more obvious dentists, opticians and pharmacies, and favoured healthy eateries over burger chains.
Kate Gittins, manager of Shrewsbury Market Hall, said: “We won Britains Favourite Market this year and this was in large part to the exceptional quality of our food offering.
“The market is just full of wonderful local produce and the most amazing cafes, serving fresh, healthy, home-cooked food which our customers love. Nothing is mass produced. Its all very real.
“More people locally are looking to eat healthily so we have a strong vegan and vegetarian offering to meet growing demand.”
She said: “Shrewsbury has got a really good variety of cafes and food shops catering for all tastes and diets – and we have lost McDonalds.
“We have a range of vegan options and we are trying to develop more sugar free cakes. We also do a low-calorie breakfast. If we didnt have these ranges we would suffer, people are becoming more health conscious.
“Interestingly we get a lot of people from Walsall and Wolverhampton who come to Shrewsbury for the day, who say they dont have these options where they are.”
Adrian Perks, visitor facilities manager at Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery, said: “We moved here in 2014 and part of the aim of that was to open up the collection to the public. We are now right in the heart of the town and we like to feel that we are very much part of the town offer as a whole.
“We are all part of a growing network and we would like to continue to offer more to both local people and visitors.
“Obviously one of the good things Shrewsbury has to offer is the number of independent traders and cafes, including the one in our museum and gallery. The food is made fresh on-site using local produce, which is better than it being brought in from outside.”
The league table features in the new RSPH report, Health on the High Street: Running on empty, which follows on from the announcement by the Chancellor of the Exchequer of a package of measures designed to reinvigorate the nations high streets.
This is a follow up report to the original RSPH Health on the High Street published in 2015, with updated methodology to reflect the changing face of the British high street.
Off-licences and empty shops have been added to the negative influences on health, and cafes and vape shops to the positive influences.
Lee Chapman, Shropshire Councils cabinet member for adult services, health and social housing, said: This is great news and something that we should be really proud of, particularly at a time when were trying to help people to stay fit and healthy.
Nic Laurens, cabinet member for economic growth, added: Shrewsbury has a lot to offer and is a place which visitors flock to, to experience its individuality and history, as well as its excellent shops and eateries. So, its no great surprise that its home to one of the healthiest high streets in the country.
It further confirms that Shrewsburys economy is doing well, despite the national trend, and were looking forward to building on this with our exciting plans for the future.