THE number of takeaways in the Scottish Borders is continuing to rise.

New figures, produced by the Local Democracy Reporting Service’s data unit in Birmingham, show that the number of local fast food stores has increased by more than a third since 2010 – from 40 to 55.

This is broadly in line with the rest of the UK, which has one of the highest proportions of overweight and obese children in the European Union.

As the number of people living in the Borders has remained relatively stable since 2010, this also means that the number of takeaways relative to population size has risen to 48 per 100,000 residents.

Many of the takeaways and fast food outlets in the Borders are focused on Galashiels and Hawick.

In July, councillors voted to relax restrictions on new businesses opening in the two town centres in a bid to combat the decline of the region’s high streets.

As part of a one year pilot scheme, there is now no restriction on the type of business which can open in Hawick’s town centre, while in Galashiels the rules on which businesses would be welcomed have been considerably relaxed.

The move is the result of a study which showed that footfall in Borders town centres had dramatically decreased, leading to an increase in empty shop fronts.

Scottish Borders Council said that the local authority does not have a specific planning policy regarding takeaways and fast food, adding: “There is no distinction between them and other restaurants in policy terms and each application is considered on its own merits, taking into account a whole range of factors.”