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Petition Tag - no to betfred
The 2005 Gambling Act gives local authorities very limited powers to refuse Gambling Licenses and Planning Permission to large betting chains. When councils and local communities try to prevent new betting shops opening, companies appeal at great cost to the local authority – at a time when cuts to their funding make this impossible. The industry is prepared to bankrupt councils to get an even greater hold on our high streets.
Bookmakers are currently targeting the poorer areas in our cities and towns. In some cases there are as many as 12 or 13 in one street. In mad competition with each other, they bid for any freeholds available in the certain knowledge they will be granted licenses. Often they are clustered together and are the cause of antisocial behaviour and theft, making parts of a street a no-go area. They take advantage of people in desperate financial circumstances and are encouraging gambling addiction in those who can least afford it, threatening the futures of our communities' children.
We are calling on the government to change the Act and give local communities a greater say over their high streets. There should be a separate planning class for betting shops to give councils and residents the power to determine their location and overall numbers. Presently councils cannot deny an application on the basis of the number already open in their area.
John Penrose MP at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport is on record as saying he isn't convinced the law needs changing because he's only heard a complaint from one London Borough (Hackney).
Therefore the aim of this petition is to show the government that it is not just a problem in the poorer parts of London, but is prevalent across the country, especially in the outskirts of our major towns and cities.
It is not a petition against betting, it's about changing the law to enable communities to combat the proliferation of betting establishments.
It is also completely independent and aims to be cross-party. In London, the only voices to be heard so far are from Diane Abbott MP for Hackney, David Lammy MP for Tottenham, and Ken Livingstone MP for Brent East (in his campaign for Mayor of London). If your council or MP has it on their agenda let us know, or email them this petition and put it on their agenda.
Please help bring this to national and media (and therefore government) attention by signing the petition and passing it on to friends and relatives in other parts of the UK.
This national petition was started in Deptford, part of the London borough of Lewisham, where both Labour MP and council have not been particularly vocal about the problem of betting shops since 2009 when Lewisham Council was the lead authority on a proposal submitted to central government as a suggested amendment to the Sustainable Communities Act that would allow councils to have the power to cap the number of bookmakers in a certain area.
We're still waiting.
If you live in the Deptford area, please see our sister petition against the licensing of the eighth betting shop in Deptford High Street. Go to: