Statement on the opening of Game Nation at 450-454 Tottenham High Road, N17
*** Update ***
Haringey Council have launched their consultation on their Gambling Policy for 2022-25. I would like to encourage all constituents to read the webpage, the full draft policy and make their views known by completing the Council’s questionnaire. The consultation is open until the 6th of September 2021.
I am deeply disappointed that permission has been granted for yet another gambling establishment in Tottenham. There are too many betting shops and adult gaming centres (AGCs) in Haringey. 57 of the 64 establishments are located east of the railway tracks, and 20% are on Tottenham High Road alone.
The license was first rejected by Haringey Council, but the decision was overturned when the applicants appealed. Unfortunately, there are no remaining formal channels available to local residents or me to challenge the decision to grant the license at 450-454 Tottenham High Road. A judicial review is not possible as 6 weeks have passed since the decision was made.
It is also important to understand that the decision is at least in part a result of the 2005 Gambling Act, which asks local authorities to ‘aim to permit’ applications for gambling establishments. The Council were also statutorily unable to require the applicant to delay their application until after the coronavirus lockdowns – they asked that they did, but the applicant refused.
I wrote to Haringey Council to express my disappointment with the decision, citing concerns for public health, local environment, and a possible increase in crime. I also expressed disappointment with the way that Haringey Council communicated with local residents about the planning application. Not enough was done to gain views of local people before a decision was made.
I have also spoken directly to the Leader of the Council, Cllr Peray Ahmet, and the Chief Executive of Haringey Council, Zina Ethridge, to discuss this AGC, and gambling policy more broadly. I stressed the importance of ensuring that residents, all local councillors and local MPs are all informed when applications are submitted for gambling establishments. The Council have committed to ensuring that communication about these applications improves significantly in future.
Regarding gambling laws more generally, the Government are currently carrying out a Review of the Gambling Act 2005. I made a submission to their Call for Evidence in March this year. I wrote in support of the APPG on Gambling Related Harm’s submission. I expressed my strong opposition to the part of the act that encourages Local Authorities to grant permission, and urged the new legislation to be oriented around concern for public health. I also asked that Local Authorities are given more powers to oppose applications on public health grounds.
Finally, Cllr Ahmet has also committed to holding a public consultation on the Council’s gambling policy. Please see link above. I would encourage local residents to make their voices heard and make submissions to this consultation.