Tower Hamlets, Croydon and Lewisham have some of the unhealthiest high streets in London, a new survey has revealed.
The Royal Society for Public Health, an independent health education charity, found Whitechapel High Street to be the unhealthiest in London, followed by Croydon’s New Addington in second place, Chrisp Street in Tower Hamlets in fourth and New Cross placed seventh.
The findings were based on the high street’s concentration of businesses that are said to have the most harmful impact on public health, including bookmakers, payday loan shops, fast food outlets and tanning salons.
Four of the capital’s 20 worst high streets were in Lewisham, more than any other borough.
Following New Cross in seventh place, were Lee Green, Deptford and Downham.
Three of Croydon’s high streets were also within the top 20 unhealthiest – New Addington, South Norwood and Thornton Heath.
The survey forms part of the charity’s Health on the High Street campaign, which calls for local authorities to be granted enhanced powers over the planning and licensing of high streets to create a rich mix of “health promoting businesses” on high streets.
Shirley Cramer, chief executive of the Royal Society for Public Health, said: “While our ranking of towns and cities is by no means a reflection on whether these areas are generally healthy or unhealthy, our research does find higher concentrations of unhealthy businesses exist in places which already experience high levels of deprivation and premature mortality.
“It highlights the need for increased communication between businesses, the public and town planners to make a London fitter and healthier place to live.”
According to the survey the healthiest high street in London is Whetstone in Barnet.
This is followed by St John’s Wood in Westminster and Stanmore in Harrow.
The Royal Society for Public Health said pharmacies, leisure centres and health services are the businesses that have the most positive impact on health.
Dr Janet Atherton, President of the Association of Directors of Public Health, said: “Our research shows empowering local authorities to control the total availability of alcohol, gambling and fast food on the high street is a top 10 priority for 91 per cent of Directors of Public Health.”