Protest against spread of betting shops

5:50am Monday 17th March 2014

By Rahul Rose

Campaigners held a protest outside a Wood Green pub over plans to turn it into the area's third betting shop.

Tottenham MP David Lammy met almost 30 residents and councillors who had gathered outside the Sugar Cane pub in Lordship Lane to protest at its planned conversion into a Paddy Power betting shop.

Many residents expressed concern about rising levels of anti-social behaviour in Lordship Lane, which some believe is linked to the recent proliferation of betting shops.

George Schon, 28, who lives in nearby Dunbar Road, said: “We have a William Hill and a Ladbrokes, and it means there is a problem with large groups of men loitering and causing trouble. It’s intimidating.

“There are a lot of vulnerable people in the area. Lots of kids use the road to go to school and they are going to build a nursing home in the area. It is not safe for them.”

Mr Lammy said: “It is a shame when local people cannot determine the make up of their own high streets.

“Why do we need three premises for betting on this road? What sort of signal does that send to the kids as they go to school?”

The protest comes amid calls for the Government to grant greater powers to local councils to restrict the number of betting shops on their high streets.

At present bookmakers do not need planning permission to open in premises that were previously used for financial purposes, such as banks or building societies.

New legislation will come into effect in May, making it possible for betting shops to open in an even wider range of premises without planning permission.

Councillor Joseph Ejiofor, cabinet member for planning and enforcement in Haringey, said: “The current legislation is tipped in favour of betting shops, and high streets like this one are being badly affected

“I’m not anti-bookmaker, but councils should be able to decide on whether they need another betting shop.”

Any representations concerning the introduction of a Paddy Power betting shop to Lordship Lane must be made to Haringey Council’s licensing team by March 24.

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