Bookmaker given green light to open two new betting shops in Barking and Dagenham

The council has granted permission for two new betting shops, despite the borough already being home to 41.

Paddy Power can open at 243 to 245 Heathway, Dagenham and 51 East Street, Barking.

The decision comes weeks after the council ran a public consultation into potential measures to curb the number of betting shops.

At the time cabinet member for regeneration, Cllr Cameron Geddes, said the increase in bookmakers had been a concern for many years and the authority was trying to tackle the issue “head on”.

This week a council spokesman said Paddy Power was granted licences subject to conditions, including installing a number of CCTV cameras and windows with no frosting or tinting.

In May traders at Barking Station launched a petition against plans by Coral to open a unit inside the station, while in June businesses and residents voiced their anger at plans by Paddy Power to set up a shop in Faircross Parade, Barking.

Most said they feared a rise in antisocial behaviour.

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Following the news of the two new Paddy Power outlets, Narendra Lodhia, owner of Station Jewellers in Barking Station, said: “I don’t understand why the council, which talks about regenerating the borough, is allowing this. If it carries on like this there will be huge problems with antisocial behaviour. The only thing anyone will come to Barking for is to bet.”

Some readers commenting on the Post’s Facebook site opposed the move, while others said they would rather see a betting shop than an empty unit.

Lynne Mordey added: “Bookies seem to be the only industry these days that can afford to pay these extortionate prices [rents and business rates].”

A Paddy Power spokesman said: “Paddy Power is a responsible operator that takes proactive measures to offer a safe, responsible and enjoyable leisure experience for its customers and the community.”