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Fast food restaurants including McDonald's and Five Guys opening in Kent this year

By Rebecca Tuffin

Seven big-brand fast food restaurants have either opened or have announced plans to open in Kent this year.

Currently, there are 39 McDonald's, 31 KFC and 10 Burger Kings in the county.

And recently, plans were revealed for a new McDonald's in Broadstairs, and another in Gravesend Asda.

Scroll down to hear from Whitstable based nutritionist Julie Clark and vote in our poll.

There are McDonald's planned for four Kent towns at present
There are McDonald's planned for four Kent towns at present

There are also rumours we could soon be seeing more big macs in Folkestone and a drive-thru in Snodland.

Mexican-themed, US company Taco Bell opened its first Kent store in May in Chatham Dockside.

A Subway alternative, Quiznos, opened a store in Dartford in June.

And a Five Guys has been approved for Ashford Designer Outlet, despite it being on a list of banned restaurants.

Five Guys has been approved for Ashford Designer Outlet
Five Guys has been approved for Ashford Designer Outlet

Nutritional therapist Julie Clark thinks it is becoming too easy for us to gorge ourselves on unhealthy food.

She said: "It's like if you keep chocolate in your house - you're going to eat it. But if you don't have it you will eat an alternative.

"People eat too much fast food because its so readily available, cheap and convenient - you don't even have to get out of your car.

"I do eat chocolate and I enjoy a glass of wine but have not been in a fast food restaurant for more than 20 years and my children have never been to one - they just don't serve the type of food we like to eat, but some people find it very addictive."

McDelivery now means people don't even have to travel to get their fast food fix.

The service was first launched in Canterbury in 2017 and is now running in a number of Kent towns, with the most recent additions being Ashford and Folkestone.

Julie, who is based in Whitstable, is worried about sending her children to secondary school, as she knows fast food will be so tempting.

She said: "If there's a fast food restaurant near a school, where do you think the kids are going to end up at lunchtime?

"There should be a limit on the number or at least a balance with more healthy alternatives. But it's very difficult because these businesses have a lot of money and power - I find it all incredibly frightening."

Medway Council introduced a restriction on the opening hours of any new fast food restaurants built since 2014.

The guidance recommends new hot food takeaways should not open between noon and 2pm within 400m of a secondary school, or between 3pm and 5pm within 400m of a primary or secondary school.

Chairman of the health and wellbeing board Cllr David Brake said: "This has certainly had a significant impact and we have since had fewer applications for fast food outlets."

Mr Brake is unsure whether there should be a limit on the number of fast food restaurants allowed in a district.

Cllr David Brake
Cllr David Brake

He said: "How far do you go? At the end of the day, families need to take responsibility for their own lifestyle - we don't want to become a nanny state.

"If people don't look after themselves someone else has to pick up the tab.

"They also need to realise the money they can save if they buy food from a supermarket instead."

Read more: All the latest news from Kent

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