I have written to Hillingdon Council urging the council to get on board with the campaign by councils across the country to control the threat of the proliferation of betting shops on local high streets. 63 cross-party led local authorities, including 26 London Boroughs, have submitted a Sustainable Communities Act proposal for the government to create a separate planning use class for betting shops so that councils have new powers to address the problem. Creating a separate planning use class is supported by the LGA, the GLA and Boris Johnson.
The proliferation and concentration of betting shops is contributing to the decline of our town centres. In Hayes town centre there are 5 bookies within a few hundred yards. England’s poorest spend £13 billion a year on the gambling machines in these shops according to a study published by the Campaign for Fairer Gambling. The ongoing spread of betting shops has also been linked to gambling addiction and crime. The government is considering the proposal right now. So I have appealed to Hillingdon Council to add its support to the proposal and confirm this by writing to the Secretary of State, Eric Pickles MP.