London Councils backs Betting shop control

Government plans to give communities more of a say on whether betting shops open in their high street have been welcomed by London Councils, as a new poll shows Londoners think the businesses are bad for local areas.

Three out of five people in a survey by London Councils thought groups of betting shops had a negative effect on the high street, and over 40 per cent said they encouraged problem gamblers. Two thirds of respondents wanted councils to have more powers to protect and enhance high streets in line with community wishes.

The findings of the poll have been released as the government consults on plans to tighten controls for betting shops and payday loan shops, while removing planning regulations for estate agents, banks and other non-retail businesses.

Councillor Claire Kober, London Councils’ Executive member for regeneration, said: “We’re very pleased that the government has listened to London boroughs on this issue.

“We have long campaigned for residents to have more of a say on whether betting shops and payday loan shops open on their doorstep.

“Planning powers are an important way for communities to influence how their high streets develop.

“However, we are concerned about plans to remove local say on other kinds of businesses, such as banks and estate agents.

“While it’s vital to encourage economic growth, this shouldn’t come at the expense of local people having a voice on what happens where they live.”

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