Following the launch of his campaign to ‘Save Our High Street’, Tooting MP, Sadiq Khan, is calling on the Government to give local councils, like Wandsworth, the power to control how many betting shops are allowed to open and rid local communities of Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs).
Last year the Government implemented changes to the rules on High Street planning to make it easier for betting shops and payday lenders to open in our town centres. Sharing local concerns about this, Sadiq Khan has launched a ‘Save Our High Street’ campaign. The campaign calls on the Government to give more power to local residents to shape our High Street and the power to say NO to more betting shops and pay day lenders, and has gained the support of local businesses across Tooting, Balham and Earlsfield, as well as many local residents.
Sadiq is now calling on the Government to put betting shops in a separate class so that councils can use planning powers to control how many open – a power which councils currently don’t possess. Sadiq also wants the Government to give councils the authority to remove or limit the number of FOBTs in betting shops.
In Tooting alone there are already 22 betting shops operating with 88 FOBTs on their premises, and a total of 53 shops across Wandsworth, with 212 FOBTs.
Evidence shows that vulnerable people are being deliberately targeted by firms placing FOBTs on our high streets, where people can bet up to £300 a minute or £18,000 an hour and Sadiq Khan is determined to stop their damaging effect on the community.
Concerned local residents can take action to Save Our High Street and sign the petition here.
Sadiq Khan MP said:
“Local residents are really worried about the amount of betting shops we now have and the impact this is having on our High Street; that is why I’m urging the Government to empower local people and local authorities to decide whether they want betting shops and FOBTs on their high streets.
“My campaign to Save Our High Street is all about giving our community more power to have a say on the shape of our High Street. Local residents want to see Wandsworth Council with the authority to say "NO" to the shops and businesses they don’t want, and able to clamp down on the number of betting shops and FOBTs in our area.”
“There are already 22 betting shops in Tooting alone, and more than 50 across the borough. Such a high number has huge consequences for families, for levels of crime and anti-social behaviour, and our community.
“The time has come to reclaim our High Street and give local people and local authorities the right to decide on whether we want so many betting shops in our area, and the opportunity to shape the face of our High Street.”