Paddy Power insists it will bring 'economic benefits' despite widespread objection

Haringey Independent: Paddy Power insists it will bring 'economic benefits' despite widespread objection Paddy Power insists it will bring 'economic benefits' despite widespread objection

A betting firm has said that it will bring economic benefits to the borough.

Bookmaker Paddy Power says a new shop in Lordship Lane would be a “major local investment”, despite both campaigners and the council saying that another betting shop will increase crime and disorder.

The company, which is trying to open a branch in a disused pub in Lordship Lane, is appealing against the council’s decision to refuse it a betting licence.

It said: “Opening a new Paddy Power betting shop is a major local investment. In this case we are bringing a vacant property back into use and creating around five new jobs.

“In addition, our research shows our shops attract customers to other retailers in the area. So at a time when the UK high street is facing unprecedented challenges due to the economic downturn and the emergence of out of town shopping centres we believe we can make a positive contribution to the communities we operate in.”

The company did not respond to questions on the links between gambling and crime, or on why it wanted to open a shop in Wood Green specifically.

In a letter to the council the Lordship N22 Campaign Group, who are against more betting shops opening in the area, said: “Our community has substantial concerns that the addition of a third betting shop in a little parade of 18 shops will exacerbate the problems already experienced by residents.

“As mentioned in my earlier objection letter, there are already three betting shops leading from Wood Green underground station to 606 Lordship Lane alone, an average of one in every nine shops.

“At the hearing there were a number of first hand personal accounts by several women who had been subjected to sexual harassment by the punters of the Ladbrokes and William Hill betting shops who frequently loitered on the pavements.

“Families who live behind that parade of shops frequently have to walk past these groups of men and children are constantly exposed to the advertising in the betting shop windows.

“In this case, the site itself also faces a small park frequented by families with young children who will be similarly exposed to the advertising from the betting shops whose advertising aim to entice people into their premises.”

The group added that the levels of crime linked to the betting outlets was not being accurately measured, as staff in the bookies called police mobile numbers, rather than the 101 or 999 numbers.

They said: “The excuse given was betting shop staff would be reluctant to report incidents if they had to call 101 or 999.

“This surely has led to the police force being used as informal security provision for betting shops reducing their resources to deal with crime and anti-social behaviour among the community who live here.”

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