Tottenham MP Lammy slams government for ignoring betting shop concerns
10:01 03 April 2012
Tottenham MP David Lammy has blasted the coalition government for ignoring pleas to give residents “the power to say ‘no’ to more betting shops” in Haringey.
Last Friday, the government published its response to a review into high streets by retail guru Mary Portas, rejecting her proposal to force betting shops to apply for planning permission before opening new premises.
Currently, betting shops are free to open in any former restaurant, pub, fast food outlet, bank, estate agent or other financial premises without having to apply to the council first.
This has led to clusters of betting shops and gambling premises opening up along Tottenham and Wood Green High Roads and blighting the areas, say critics.
Mr Lammy said: “I am seriously disappointed with the government’s response to the Portas Review. It is clear from the review and from what thousands of people are saying across the country that betting shops are taking over their local high streets.
“The government have completely ignored their concerns and have squandered the opportunity to change the law to give local people the power to say ‘no’ to more betting shops.”
Ms Portas’ review, published last December, proposed betting shops are given their own planning category, forcing them to apply for permission to open - and giving councils and residents more power to regulate their numbers to avoid saturation. But the government rejected Ms Portas’ recommendation, arguing that councils already have the necessary powers.