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Greenwich Council planning chiefs accused of 'failing' community after betting shops given go-ahead in Woolwich
PLANNING chiefs have been accused of “failing” the public after giving two more betting shops the go-ahead in Woolwich.
Bookies Betfred will move into Powis Street while Paddy Power will set up shop in Brewery Road, close to a special needs school, after plans were approved at a Greenwich Council licensing committee.
There are already nine betting shops in Woolwich.
Members of the public gathered at the meeting to voice fears of escalating crime and a “clustering” of betting shops which could act as a magnet for anti-social behaviour.
Brewery Road, just off the Glyndon Estate, already houses a Coral bookies and has two primary schools nearby including Waterside School, which caters for pupils with behavioural, emotional and social disorders.
Andrew Lakka, 48, is a director of a Woolwich housing company.
He said: “There were masses of objections towards betting offices opening and the clustering of betting offices in central Woolwich and obviously the council heard everything.
“I feel the council is failing communities, especially in the Glyndon Estate which is where they are opening a betting office in front of a special needs school.
“It is just sickening.”
He added: “You see the drunks blowing all their money.
“Businesses close to betting offices are directly affected by miscreants and customers are put off.
“More vulnerable people bet their dole money; this is what I am seeing.”
Member of Brewery, Majendie and Waverley Road Residents’ Association (BAMRA) Martin Jenkins says the association – which borders the affected area – is disappointed by the decision.
A spokesman for Greenwich Council said: “The licensing committee shares many of the concerns and the frustrations of residents about new betting shops opening in the borough but was obliged to approve both applications within the framework of nationally set out licensing legislation.”
He added: “The council finds it frustrating licensing law does not allow the committee to take into account the number of betting shops already in the borough.
“Ultimately these issues can only be resolved by a change in national legislation.”