A world-famous ice cream parlour could be coming to Brent Civic Centre – the building of the authority responsible for local public health.

Food franchisee Pink Spoon has lodged a planning application with Brent Council to open a branch of the Baskin Robbins dessert chain at the council’s HQ in Engineers Way, Wembley, where customers would be able to snack on a mixture of high-calorie cakes, ice cream and chocolate sundaes.

More than one in five of the borough’s adults and year six children are obese, according to the joint needs assessment published by Brent's health and wellbeing board comprising councillors, GPs, patients and council officers.

Councillor Krupesh Hirani (Labour), the council’s lead member for adults and health, told the Observer: “We have got an ambitious programme to tackle some of the long-term public health and obesity problems in the borough in terms of looking at fast food outlets near our schools, but a little bit of ice cream from time to time is not going to do a lot of damage.

Councillor Hirani, Labour's lead for health in Brent
 

“I’m not worried about the message this may send.

“The over-arching message here is to look at the quality of school meals and the options available on our high streets, encouraging physical activity in our parks and healthier modes of transport like cycling.”

Less than a third of over-16s in Tokyngton ward, where the civic centre is located, eat the government-advised five or more portions of fruit or vegetables a day although overall Brent fares better than the English average for healthy diets.

The joint needs assessment says: “The prevalence of obesity in Brent is projected to increase dramatically over the next two decades worsening health inequality, and resulting in significant cost to the individual and the health service.

“Diseases related to overweight and obesity are estimated to have cost NHS Brent £86 million in 2010 while diseases related to obesity alone cost an estimated £47 m.

“Unhealthy eating habits and lack of physical activity both significantly increase the likelihood of an individual becoming overweight or obese.”

Brent Civic Centre, Engineers Way, Wembley
 

In January last year, the council’s Tackling Diabetes in Brent Task Group issued a report warning: “Diabetes has become a major issue and is a growing problem for Brent and this is definitely linked to the ethnic makeup of the borough.”

The council is consulting neighbours about Pink Spoon’s planning application ahead of a June 9 deadline.

It is not known how much the council will earn from leasing out the shop space and there is already a Baskins Robbins shop at nearby the Cineworld Wembley at London Designer Outlet over the road from the civic centre.

What do you think? Email john.shammas@trinitymirror.com.