New planning rules introduced on Friday May 31 would allow bookies to move into empty shops without needing permission to change the use of premises.
Ministers hope this will prevent high streets turning into ghost towns but critics argued the new legislation would means towns could be overrun by bookmakers and payday lenders.
Hmmm, a usual hopelessly drawn-up bit of legislation, or a crafty way to get an end run around the usual suspects?
Councillor Nilgun Canver, the cabinet member for the environment, said such shops often target poorer areas of the borough.
They can’t be that ‘poor’, can they, if these shops can still make a living!
“Betting shops are clustered in some of the borough’s poorest areas and this limits consumer choice, inhibits regeneration and is of little benefit to the local economy or residents. ”
What, you mean they don’t pay business rates? And no-one in the area uses them?
That can’t be right…
“There is also evidence of anti-social and criminal behaviour associated with these shops as hard pressed gamblers lose substantial funds on the machines.”
Well, if that’s the case, then try and get them closed down. Like you do with pubs or nightclubs. It should be easy, shouldn’t it?
Cllr Canver said: “The council has tried several avenues to try to reduce betting shop clusters it does not have sufficient powers or finances to address this problem.
“We pressed the Government to introduce a separate planning category for betting shops that would mean them needing planning permission to change the use of a retail unit into a betting shop and allowing the views of the community to be taken into account before granting planning permission but the Government did the opposite.”
I wonder why…?
Did they think they’d have to provide this loophole to avoid the people like Cllr Canver, who, when they say ‘lack of choice’, really mean people making choices of which they don’t approve?