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David Lammy hits out at Government for rejecting betting shop review
MP David Lammy has slammed the Government for not doing enough to stop betting shops opening in the borough.
The Government refused to adopt the betting shop recommendations set out by retail guru Mary Portas in her action plan to transform Britain’s high streets.
The Labour MP 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 has completely ignored their concerns and has squandered the opportunity to change the law to give local people the power to say ‘no’ to more betting shops.”
Ms Portas believes the influx of betting shops throughout the UK is “blighting” Britain’s high streets and the Government needs to take action against current planning law.
She considers the problem to be most serious in low-income areas, which she thinks are suffering from a surge in betting shop numbers.
At the moment, betting shops are grouped in the same planning category as banks, estate agents and other financial services, which Ms Portas considers to be "odd" and "inappropriate."
Because of their current classification, the gambling shops can open up in any building that was previously a restaurant, cafe, pub, bar, or hot food takeaway, without need to apply for permission from the council.
Around 45 per cent of all shops in Haringey fall under this bracket.
With 65 betting shops already open in Haringey, Mr Lammy says he is on a mission to change the planning laws.
He thinks Haringey Council should have the power to refuse more betting shops opening their doors in the borough.
The Labour MP, who has been campaigning for a change to the planning law for years, has pledged to continue the fight despite the Government’s failure to adopt Ms Portas’ suggestions.
He said: “I’ve been clear on the betting shop issue for years. Enough is enough.”
The MP expressed his dismay at Tottenham in particular, which is home to more than 40 betting shops, but not a single bookshop.
He said Harringay Green Lanes and Tottenham High Road are "hotspots", with large sections of the roads taken over by shops dedicated to gambling.
According to Mr Lammy, people living in Tottenham are fed up with the amount of betting shops blighting the area.
Councillor Nilgun Canver (Lab, St Ann’s) also wants the planning laws to change.
Cllr Canver, who is also the cabinet member for environment, said: “I’m determined to ensure residents have greater control over what their local neighbourhoods look like, whether around the spread of fast food chains, money lenders or betting shops.
“The clustering of betting shops in some parts of Haringey has simply gone too far and the Government needs to change legislation to give communities the power to use planning and licensing laws to prevent them spreading further.
“Betting shops intentionally target some of the most deprived parts of our community and it’s about time the Government empowered councils and residents to work together to stop the proliferation of betting shops that blight so many of our high streets.”
A William Hill betting shop reopened just over a week ago in Tottenham High Road, following its destruction in the August riots.