POOLE has the fourth most unhealthy high street in the country, according to a recent study by a property firm.

Latest figures from bankrate.com's Health Index, which takes into account a variety of factors that once combined generates a score, highlighted the town's low score of four.

The HealthRate index is a points system that awards a city or town a certain number of points per ‘healthy’ amenity available within the area surrounding their high street.

Points are deducted for each ‘unhealthy’ facility available in the same area, with points ranging from between -3 and 3.

Facilities considered 'unhealthy' include fast food takeaways, vape shops, pawn brokers and gambling and betting shops.

The research attributes Poole's low score to the large number of fast food takeaways and payday lenders in and around the high street.

On the overall table, Bournemouth scores a moderate 32 with a 'healthrate' score of 164.

Cabinet member for Regeneration and Culture, Councillor Mark Howell said: "We have exciting plans to kickstart the regeneration of Poole Town Centre and are in the process of producing a new masterplan from which the Council and developers can deliver a healthy, vibrant and enjoyable place for residents, workers and visitors.

"Sustainability and wellbeing will underpin the vision, with new developments aiming to encourage the use of sustainable travel and deliver a high-quality travel interchange including the possible relocation of both train and bus stations.We have secured Heritage Action Zone funding, and have bids in process that could see £25 million invested in the High Street under the Future High Streets Fund and £3m in Poole Museum. These awards and bids are helping to create a dynamic of renewal.

"We take concerns about the health of our residents seriously, but a ranking of Poole High Street derived from analysing Google Map information alone and which seems to overlook, for example, the wellbeing benefits of having the wonderful Poole Quay a short walk away, will not dampen our excitement about the positive changes underway."