Ken Livingstone joins the campaign against betting shops

Thursday, 09 September 2010


Ken Livingstone and David Lammy will call for new powers for councils and Londoners to tackle the proliferation of betting shops in London and improve the quality of life in the capital on Thursday 9th September.

Ken and David Lammy MP will be lobbying Eric Pickles (Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government) to include amendments to the Decentralisation and Localism Bill to empower residents to have a say over their high streets.

Ken and David will visit the site of a former pub in Hackney, The Railway Tavern, at 10.15am Thursday 9th September. The building has been taken over by Paddy Power and is currently being redeveloped as a betting shop. They will be joined by the Mayor of Hackney, Jules Pipe, and Nilgun Canver, Cabinet Member on Haringey Council.

Ken Livingstone said,

“The huge increase in the number of betting shops in London has changed the character of high streets across London and I believe it is time for Londoners and local authorities to be given greater powers to ensure our high streets do not become completely dominated by gambling establishments.

‘Today we are calling on the government to give local communities a greater say over their high streets. I believe there should be a separate planning class for betting shops to give councils and residents the power to determine their location and overall numbers.

‘This is not an attack on gambling. We want a decent balance of shops on our high streets. It’s  about time the odds are shifted in favour of betting shops to the side of residents.”

David Lammy MP said

‘In Tottenham, iconic and much loved local shops have disappeared, and have been replaced by betting shops.

‘There are far too few powers for councils to reject applications for gambling licences. It is surely wrong that they cannot deny an application for a betting shop on the basis of the number of betting shops that are already open in the area.

‘In Tottenham there are 39 bookmakers but no bookshops. That must change. We must give communities with new powers to ensure our high streets are thriving environments and not dominated by betting shops.”

Mayor of Hackney, Jules Pipe said:

‘Big betting chains have exploited the weaknesses in the law to open more and more shops on high streets across Hackney.

‘Councils need more of say over the shape of our high streets and we need more powers to prevent betting shops springing up on every street corner.

‘Large concentrations of betting shops have a negative impact on the character of an area and can suck significant money out of a community.

‘But at the moment councils have no powers to say no. That needs to change.’

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