Three days to stop the bookies’ take-over of our high streets

One of the most depressing sights in many communities is the huge number of betting shops that seem to spring up everywhere.  In the poorest communities, shops are closing, businesses are struggling…but the numbers of bookies is ever on the rise.

A key factor in this development is that planning law means that local councils don’t have enough powers to limit the number of betting shops in an area. Like weeds in a neglected garden they are allowed to grow unchecked.  But with a bit of help from you, that could change.

Rowenna Davis, campaigner, councillor and journalist (she was one of the first mainstream journalists to report on the Faithfulness Matters campaign) has been exposing the dangers and injustices of the betting industry for a long time.  She has done great work with local churches about the negative impact of betting shops in her area of Peckham.  She emailed me this week about a key opportunity to do something to stem the negative impact of betting shops in our communities.

Similarly to the Faithfulness Matters campaign, I think this is a real R&R issue and I want to encourage people to get behind this campaign.

Consultation for change

The Department of Communities and Local Government have a consultation into planning that could increase councils’ powers over bookmakers and allow them to deny a licence if there are already a reasonable number in a local area.  This consultation closes on the 12th September.

The consultation really is the best hope of giving local people some control over the number of bookies in their areas. Could you spare 10 minutes to make a submission and pass it on to anyone else you think might be interested?

You can download my completed submission form here – I removed my personal details so you could ‘save as’ and add your details and comments and send on to the DCLG.

Don’t be too put off by the form – planning law is obviously complex but most questions of them are not relevant to this issue and can be left.  The key is marking ‘Yes’ to question 11 and then outlining why in question 12.

Filling in forms like this is not exactly the sexy end of campaigning. But lets get behind this important campaign – perhaps we really can do something to prevent our communities being further wrecked by those who agenda is only to make money.

About Jon Kuhrt

Jon Kuhrt works with people affected by homelessness, offending and addictions at the West London Mission. He, his wife and three children are part of Streatham Baptist Church and he is a member of the Christians on the Left. He likes football...but loves cricket.
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2 Responses to Three days to stop the bookies’ take-over of our high streets

  1. Ben Niblett says:

    Great idea Jon – and why not make the same point about pawnbrokers and payday loan shops, for all the same reasons?

  2. Sarah Finch says:

    I am frustrated that I found this post too late to respond to the consultation. I am currently engaged in trying to stop another betting shop in my town (see blog post http://redhillgreens.org.uk/2012/08/does-redhill-need-another-betting-shop/ ).

    If you know of other ways of campaigning to change planning law on this matter, i would be very grateful to hear of them. Thanks!

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