Greenwich Council calls for action after spread of 53 betting shops across borough (From News Shopper)
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Greenwich Council calls for action after spread of 53 betting shops across borough
GREENWICH Council has called for action on the spread of betting shops in the area.
There are currently 53 across the borough, including 13 in Eltham, 12 in Woolwich and nine Plumstead outlets.
At the moment applicants wanting to open a betting shop are only required to apply for a licence rather than planning permission.
It means council usually cannot take into account the number of existing bookies in the area - leading to a call from all Greenwich councillors for the government to introduce a separate planning use class, meaning planning permission would be required.
A motion, backed by councillors of all parties, was passed at last week's council meeting.
Cabinet member for community safety and environment Councillor Maureen O'Mara said: "While we don’t oppose responsible gambling or betting shops per se, it is crucial to ensure that betting shop operators aren’t able to populate high streets too heavily, and indeed to ensure that areas of deprivation aren’t specifically targeted by operators to exploit those more likely to gamble because they are short of funds.
"Councils up and down the country have their hands tied on this issue by the current laws – this isn’t a problem unique to Greenwich and we urge the government to make a sensible decision and to change the law so applications for new betting shops can be fully and democratically scrutinised."
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