After months of calling on the government to hand planning powers back to the local community, today Sadiq Khan MP welcomes the government announcement that local councils will be given more powers to prevent new betting shops from opening.
This is a big success for Sadiq Khan’s ‘Save Our High Street’ campaign which was launched with local business owners and residents in December, after betting shop numbers in Tooting hit 22.
For the last six months Sadiq has been calling on the government to change its rules on high street planning and give more power back to local residents and the council to control betting shop numbers. Over 1000 local people have shown support for the ‘Save Our High Street’ campaign to date, and after years of denying local councils needed additional powers to deal with the clustering of betting shops, today the government has made a partial u-turn.
The creation of a new planning class for betting shops will give Wandsworth Council increased powers to restrict the number of shops opening. But there are concerns that the proposals don’t go far enough, as they don’t allow council’s to cut down on the number of betting shops that are already in operation.
Sadiq Khan MP said:
“This latest announcement is welcome news for Tooting businesses and local residents. For months we have been saying that Tooting has far too many betting shops and that the government needed to intervene. Finally they have taken action, but this news will have little effect on the disproportionate number of betting shops that have opened on Wandsworth Council’s watch in recent years.
“Once this legislation has been introduced, the council will have no excuse for failing to clamp down on the number of betting shops opening. I will be monitoring them very closely to make sure they do.
“I would like to say a huge thank you to the hundreds of people who have been involved in our ‘Save Our High Street’ campaign – together we have achieved this great success. But the campaign doesn’t end here. We already have 22 betting shops in Tooting, 53 in Wandsworth and I want to see the government give our community the power to reduce that number too. I will also be working with local residents and councillors to urge Wandsworth Council to make our high streets cleaner, safer and take action to promote a better variety of shops for our community.”
Penny Ryan, Save Our High Street supporter and guerrilla knitter said:
“I am delighted to hear that the government has listened to our campaign and taken this positive first step. But I would also like to see them go further and address the number of betting shops already open, as we already have far too many. So whilst much progress has been achieved, I won’t be putting my knitting needles down just yet."