Payday loan shops, fast food outlets and bookies make Ipswich town centre one of most unhealthiest

Does Ipswich have one of the unhealthiest town centres in the country?

Does Ipswich have one of the unhealthiest town centres in the country? - Credit: Archant

Ipswich has been ranked as having one of the unhealthiest high streets in the country.

The Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) judged 70 of the UK’s major towns and cities based on the proportion of businesses found in their main retail areas that either support or harm the public’s health.

Ipswich was ranked as the 28th worst in the league table – behind Birmingham (32nd), Manchester (34th) and Glasgow (37th).

Researchers took into account the number of bookies, payday loan shops, fast food shops and tanning salons in the area, which were viewed as having a negative impact on health.

In contrast, pharmacies, leisure centres and health services were seen as having the most positive impact.

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But Ipswich Borough Council has hit back at the findings, insisting other recent research suggests the town and its surrounding areas are healthy and vibrant.

A spokesman for the authority said: “This does not reflect the findings that last year showed Ipswich had overall the second largest life satisfaction increase last year, is in the top 10 towns and cities with the highest employment rate and has the third lowest CO2 emissions per capita rating in the county.

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“This year Kesgrave, Ipswich, ranked in the top 10 most desirable postcode districts in England – all of which show that Ipswich is a thriving urban area, with a population that is happy to live here.”

The RSPH research found that Preston had the unhealthiest retail area in the country, while Shrewsbury had the healthiest.

Shirley Cramer CBE, chief executive of the RSPH, 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.”

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