The Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) has named Grimsby, North East Lincolnshire, as the ‘unhealthiest UK high street’.
The announcement came after a league table published by the group ranked 70 of Britain’s major towns and cities by the impact of their high streets on the public’s health and wellbeing.
The rankings, based on the prevalence of different types of businesses found in the towns’ main retail areas, see Grimsby rated as having the unhealthiest high street, with Edinburgh coming out as the healthiest. The ranking excludes London high streets, which have been ranked separately.
The top 10 “unhealthiest” British high streets were ranked as:
The top 10 “healthiest” British high streets were ranked as:
- Brighton & Hove
Average life expectancy for people living in areas with the top 10 healthiest high streets is two and a half years longer than for those in the 10 unhealthiest ranked areas.
Changes to British high streets that have influenced the rankings includes a growth in the number of fast food shops by 4,000 between 2014 and 2017, especially in the most deprived areas, which now have five times more fast food shops than the most affluent areas.
The number of vape shops has doubled from 1,000 to 2,000 in the past three years, and the high street vacancy rate has increased from below 7% in 2007 to 11% in 2017.
Shirley Cramer, RSPH CEO, said: “While the face of the British high street continues to change, the environmental and economic factors that influence inequalities in health outcomes across the country remain stubbornly intractable.
“Our Health on the High Street rankings illustrate how unhealthy businesses concentrate in areas which already experience higher levels of deprivation, obesity and lower life expectancy. Reshaping these high streets to be more health-promoting could serve as a tool to help redress this imbalance.”
She added: “While we broadly welcome the package of measures announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer this week, we are concerned that they do not go far enough. Local authorities, who are well placed to make changes, are currently operating with one hand tied behind their backs due to ongoing funding cuts, particularly in some of the more deprived areas that feature prominently in these rankings.”