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Betting shop curbs 'too late' for Waltham Forest
Plans to curb the number of new betting shops by giving councils new powers have come too late for areas like Waltham Forest, it is claimed.
This week the government announced planning authorities will be able to consider the “harm” done by the proliferation of bookies in areas when considering applications.
Currently betting shops are currently in the same planning category as banks and estate agents, which means no permission is needed to open one.
This had led to a number of betting shops opening in Waltham Forest, with a high proportion in poorer areas.
However, Clyde Loakes, deputy council leader and councillor for Leytonstone, said the move has come too late for Waltham Forest.
He said: “It is three years too late as far as we are concerned. We have been fighting for this for years.
“Last year they made it easier for betting shops to open.
“It is too early to take the champagne off ice. It also doesn’t stop those which are already open.
“It is a welcome move but for roads like Church Lane in Leytonstone it is too late.”
Liberal Democrat councillor Mahmood Hussein, of High Street ward in Walthamstow, says the number of betting shops in the area is detrimental to business.
He said: “There are 12 betting shops in our high street, way too many.
“The anti-social behaviour and drinking around them is putting people off coming to shop here and that’s harming local businesses.
“All of us with local businesses really appreciate this action by our colleagues in government and local residents are telling me how relieved they are this blight on our High Streets can now be removed.”
A number of measures will also be applied inside existing shops, such as gamblers being required to go to the counter if they wish to spend more than £50 in a machine.
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