Hackney Council responds to government announcement on betting shops
The Government has today announced it will consult on proposals to give councils greater planning control over applications to open betting shops.
This announcement represents a real victory for local government and demonstrates what councils can achieve when they unite for a cause. Hackney Council, along with authorities across the country, has long been calling on government to give us the tools to tackle the blight of bookies in our high streets. At last ministers have listened to the overwhelming weight of public and council opinion against the current betting shop free-for-all. “We will now look into the detail of these proposals. If, as it appears, they could deliver the meaningful change to planning law which we've been campaigning for we will push for any new legislation to be brought in as soon as possible. Such changes cannot come soon enough and it’s crucial councils remain united during the consultation process as we should be in no doubt the powerful gambling lobby will do its best to water down these proposals. “For too many years councils have been powerless to stop betting shops taking over their high streets, much to the frustration of our residents. Our campaigning has never been about banning betting shops. We acknowledge responsible and well-run businesses have a right to trade, but what we need is the ability to strike the right balance for our high streets, something our residents continually tell us they want.
There are about 65 betting shops in Hackney, with eight on one street alone.
Hackney Council has lobbied successive governments over the past seven years to give councils and their residents a greater say on applications for betting shops.
In February this year it submitted a proposal to government under the Sustainable Communities Act to give betting shops their own planning class. The submission received cross-party support from boroughs across London and 35 councils outside the capital. Hackney Council also wrote to Planning Minister Nick Boles asking for the change.
An online petition has also been set up so people can show their support for the proposals.
For more information on the campaign, visit beat the bookies.
For more information on the Government's proposals, visit www.gov.uk/government/news/gambling-protections-and-controls-published