No More Betting Shops

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Labour’s campaign continues against more betting shops opening in Haringey

Local residents and campaigners were joined outside the ‘old’ Lordship Pub on Friday by Haringey Labour councillors, Tottenham MP, David Lammy, and Labour’s candidate for MP in Hornsey & Wood Green, Catherine West, to show their concern about an application to open yet another betting shop in Haringey as a result of the Tory/Lib Dem Government’s deregulation to planning laws.

Haringey Council has received an application from the bookmaker ‘Paddy Power’ to convert the old pub building on Lordship Lane into a new betting shop and thanks to the Government, Haringey Council, like other local authorities, now have very limited powers to stop it,

Last May, as part of their localism agenda, the Government relaxed the rules related to the ‘use class’ planning system, which define the potential ‘uses’ of buildings, making it much easier for establishments such as betting shops and pay-day lenders to take over our high streets.

The local Labour Party and Haringey residents hope that their campaign around the Lordship Pub will send a clear message to the Government that the current system does not work

There are already more than sixty betting shops clustered on Haringey high streets, the highest numbers in Tottenham and Green Lanes and, if Paddy Power’s application is successful, it will mean that there will be 3 betting shops, in extremely close proximity to each other, open along the short shopping parade running from the pub site.

With every new betting shop comes more Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs) which allow punters to bet £300 minute or £18,000 an hour. The proliferation of FOBTS on the high street has been associated with an increase in crime and anti-social behaviour particularly in more deprived communities like Haringey.

The Labour Group on Haringey Council has been lobbying the Coalition Government for years to give Haringey and other authorities the power to limit more betting shops opening and to enforce specific planning regulations.

David Lammy, laid down an amendment to the Government’s Localism Bill to change the use class of betting shops, but this amendment was defeated. The Hornsey and Wood Green MP Lynne Featherstone, voted against the amendment.

Catherine West, Labour’s candidate for MP in Hornsey & Wood Green said:

“Local Lib Dem MP Lynne Featherstone, showed how out of touch she is with the wishes of Haringey people, by voting against devolving power to local communities to develop the local High Streets that they want.

“The Lib Dems can’t continue to pretend that what they do nationally doesn’t seriously impact our local communities.”

David Lammy, MP for Tottenham said:

“Betting shops have saturated Haringey's and Tottenham's once vibrant high streets, and bring with them increased anti-social behaviour and turn away other businesses from investing in our community.

“This is not about the rights and wrongs of gambling - this is about residents deserving the right to have a say in the community and their high street.”

Cllr Joseph Ejiofor, Cabinet Member for Planning and Enforcement said:

“There are already too many betting shops in Haringey particularly in Tottenham and as a Council, we are are powerless to stop more opening.

“Not only do the areas that attract betting shops often have higher levels of unemployment – meaning local residents are often more financially vulnerable – they also suffer disproportionately from crime and disorder which can often be often associated with problem gambling.”

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