Richmond Council has refused permission for developers to turn an empty dry cleaners site on Whitton High Street into a takeaway food outlet as it is too close to schools.

Officers wrote in their refusal letter: “The proposal, by reason of its siting within 400 metres of Nelson Primary School and St Edmund’s Catholic Primary School, would compromise the health and well being of the borough’s school-aged children by promoting the sale of unhealthy food.”

They said this would breach national, local and London-wide planning policies.

However, the developer argued in its application that the shortest walking routes - 465m and 550m from Nelson Primary and St Edmund’s respectively, compared to 375m and 265m as the crow flies - should instead be taken into account, meaning there was no breach of policy.

They pointed to an appeal won by KFC against Lambeth Council, in which the inspector agreed that a walking route was “more appropriate”.

The shop has been vacant since Royal Dry Cleaners left in July 2017, and despite having been on the market for nine months - when the application was made in May - the site has not been leased.

It is not clear whether a specific takeaway chain is interested in the site.

The developer can now appeal to the government to overturn the council’s decision.