Betting shop decision delay

Station Parade, Barking.

Station Parade, Barking. - Credit: Archant

A decision on restricting the number of betting shops in Barking and Dagenham has been delayed.

The council needs to wait until three appeals have been considered by the planning inspectorate before it can consider scrapping the right of bookmakers to turn a retail shop or food outlet into a betting shop without applying for planning permission.

It follows concern from the authority and residents that there are too many betting shops in the borough, which has the 17th highest concentration of bookmakers in London.

The proposals being considered by the council include a 100 metre exclusion zone around existing betting shops in certain areas to prevent “clustering”.

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

Residents launched a petition which halted plans to open a betting shop in Faircross Parade last year while shopkeepers criticised the council for allowing two new Paddy Power outlets to open in Barking last year,

A council report by Daniel Pope, development planning manager for the council, notes that although the number of betting shops has remained at 40 since 2007, due to the pattern of closures and openings the offices have become more concentrated in Dagenham Heathway, Chadwell Heath district centres and Barking Town Centre.

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In Station Parade, two Coral’s, a Paddy Power and a Ladbrokes are within 100 metres of one another while three betting shops in Dagenham Heathway are within 50 metres of one another.

Last year, a public consultation on the proposals received 93 comments in support, including 78 residents and the Metropolitan Police, which said betting shops had become a focal point for crime and anti-social behaviour in the area.

The seven objections were mainly from betting shops which claimed footfall in the area would be reduced if their number was reduced.

A spokesman said the council was preparing for its High Court challenge against an inspector’s decision to allow a betting office in Faircross Parade and awaiting the outcome of two appeal hearings relating to the Heathway and East Street.

A group of London councils, led by the London Borough of Hackney and including Barking and Dagenham, are lobbying the government to put betting shops in a separate and specific user class under the Sustainable Communities Act.