Plans to curb number of betting shops in Barking and Dagenham

Residents are being urged to give their view on proposals to curb the number of betting shops opening in Barking and Dagenham.

The authority is considering scrapping the right of bookmakers to turn a retail shop or food outlet into a betting shop without applying for planning permission.

A new rule would see betting shops put in a separate ‘use’ class, which means anyone wanting to open such a shop would have to make a ‘change of use’ planning application.

It follows concerns from the authority and residents that there are far too many bookmakers in the borough - with 50 currently operating in Barking and Dagenham.

The proposals form part of a draft Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) called Evening the Odds: curbing the proliferation of betting shops.

It includes, among other things, a 400 metre exclusion zone around existing betting shops to prevent more opening in the same area.

On December 19 the council’s cabinet agreed to consult members of the public over the SPD, which means residents can have a say on the plans before they go before the assembly.

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Councillor Cameron Geddes, cabinet member for regeneration, said: “Research has shown that the number of betting shops in an area not only restricts the retail choices available to local communities, but can also have a damaging effect on people’s health and finances.

“We consider that it is in the interests of our residents and the vitality and viability of our town centres that this proliferation needs to be carefully controlled.”