More Betting Shops!

Deptford wants more betting shops.  Like Blackheath needs more estate agents.  Lewisham council recently refused planning permission for “Done Brothers (Cash Betting)” to build another betting shop in Deptford.  There’s a lot of history here – check Deptford Dame for details.
The company are appealing against the decision, on the grounds that:

…there is nothing to suggest the use of the premises as a betting shop would cause harm in terms of anti-social behaviour, crime or disturbance to neighbouring residents and other users of the town centre. This reason for refusal is based on a subjective view of the type of people that use betting shops. There is no evidence that customers visiting betting shops are any more likely to cause harm in terms of anti­social behaviour, crime or disturbance than any other use present along Deptford High Street.

Full document is here. Anyway, if you disgree, then email quoting reference APP/C5690/A/11/2151228/NWF.

If you can find case studies, examples, or good evidence explaining why you think another betting shop would be a bad idea, please add them in the comments below, so that other people can use them in their emails.

UPDATED: Above is a Google Map, showing all the betting shops in Deptford. Made by Crossfields.


Filed under Not Blackheath but nearby, planning

11 responses to “More Betting Shops!

  1. Thanks for highlighting this.
    Our main argument against the new betting shop (and the one which has the strongest chance of success within planning law) is that it does not contribute to the diversity of the street, which already has sufficient premises of a similar nature. Lewisham has designated this part of Deptford High Street as one of the borough’s main shopping areas, and we are fighting against the application on the grounds that it will undermine the diversity and sustainability of the shopping street.

    Despite much anecdotal evidence about the criminal and anti-social behaviour of some of the people who use these shops, and those who gather outside them, any argument against the application on grounds of criminality will only succeed if the owners of the business can be proved to be involved in it.

    Most of the people objecting to this application are not on a puritanical crusade to ban betting shops, but they believe there are more than enough in Deptford already. We just want diversity.

    Ironically there is a similar campaign at the moment by residents living near the Cut in Southwark; rather than betting shops they are trying to limit the number of coffee shops and cafes that are replacing actual shops. People want to be able to shop in their local high streets, as well as go to coffee shops and place a bet. Diversity supports a sustainable high street which in turn supports its local community, in whatever way that is applied.

  2. Michele O'Brien

    What is the Council’s thinking in permitting such a concentration of betting shops in the Deptford area? Does anybody know?

    I counted 12 in all – seven in Deptford High Street, four in Evelyn Street and one in Lower Road.

    Why so many in such a limited area? With so much competition for business inevitably arising between them from such a concentration what is it makes Deptford so attractive to them?

    And are there no other takers in lines of business other than bookmaking for commercial properties when they become vacant? Anyone got any answers?

    • Michelle as BB said there is plenty of information on both my blog and Crosswhatfields about the background. In a nutshell, national planning and licensing legislation leaves little grounds for local councils to refuse permission – if they do so, the applicant generally takes it to appeal. Councils need to be very certain that they are applying the law appropriately, otherwise they may find themselves having to spend (your/the public’s) money defending these cases.
      The actual bookmaking business is not the lure driving companies to open multiple businesses, it is having premises on which to install fixed odds betting terminals ( which are big money spinners. Since FOBTs are recognised as particularly addictive to gamblers, the law restricts each premises to only four such terminals. But they make so much money that the cost of opening and running a betting shop (particularly where rent is cheap such as Deptford, Catford, Tottenham) is outweighed by the income generated. Each company wants a slice of this, some even open multiple shops to increase their income (we have two branches of William Hill on the same street, and two branches each of Paddy Power and Coral on adjoining streets).

      As to whether there are other takers for the premises – these major companies have staff dedicated to searching out failing pubs and closing building societies/banks and making pre-emptive bids for the premises. Under planning law these types of premises can be changed into betting shops with minimal or no planning permission required (generally only for building alterations). I predict that right now, some of these chains will be in negotiation with the owners of the premises housing Nationwide branches in south east London which are set to close. Ironic to think that betting shops come within the same planning classification as banks and building societies – ‘financial services’ indeed!

  3. Sue

    Michele, Lewisham planners actually turned this down. Betfred are now appealing against that decision to the government’s Planning Inspectorate.

    Thanks, BB, for discovering an address to write to.

  4. sue

    I didn’t read the other side of the letter from Planning that has the addresses to write to – doh!

    I was going to take issue with the Dame about it being a question mostly of diversity, but welcome her expansion of the issue in her reply to Michele, especially regarding the FOBTs. The betting industry is targeting poor areas all over the country, and this makes it a moral question for me. Studies show there is a clear association between problem gambling and disadvantaged groups and that those on the lowest incomes are three times more likely to suffer addiction. Gambling related debt (credit commitments not being met, arrears with household bills, cutting back on key household items such as food and clothes) impacts on health and well-being at individual and family levels. The main reason given by those whose gambling had become problematic was ‘increased opportunities’. The 2010 British Gambling Prevalence Survery reported that the playing of FOBTs was found to be highest among those with the lowest personal income and lower educational attainment. These machines were estimated in 2005 to have boosted bookmakers’ profits by £500m a year. In 2009 the Gambling Commission found that 98% of bookmakers allowed underage gambling. The rate of problem gambling found in adolescents is over three times as high as the problem gambling rate in adults. The survey also found that those at risk to problem gambling was highest among those of Asian/Asian British and Black/Black origin. Problem gamblers are more likely to live in areas of greatest deprivation, have no educational qualifications, more likely to live in the lowest income households and more likely to be unemployed. The people who spent most time gambling and spent the largest proportion of their income on gambling (high-time/high-spend) displayed the most adverse socio-economic profile.

    The closure of the Deptford Arms means the loss of a controlled licensed environment which has led to more street drinking, and whatever Betfred may claim about negative stereotyping, street drinking is taking place directly outside betting premises and not other shops, whilst begging has noticeably increased.

    BTW, Joan Ruddock MP is presently collecting evidence of local experience and opinion in order to speak about the problem in Deptford High Street – David Lammy MP (Tottenham) is tabling an amendment to the Localism Bill in the Commons this coming week. The idea of the amendment is to increase the powers of local authorities to refuse planning permission to betting shops. There is no guarantee that his amendment will be called for debate however.

  5. There’s a notice in the window of what used to be Harrison Ingram estate agents at Blackheath Standard of an application to turn it into a betting shop, I spotted this morning.

  6. That’s the one. The shutters were down, and it looks like it’s been pretty much cleared out. I was in a hurry so didn’t take a note of who the applicant is.

    • According to this page, you wouldn’t need a planning request to change from a Financial Institution like an estate agents, to a betting shop (although it says it’s only a guideline). I’ve emailed Greenwich Planning asking for more info, but if you get a chance to snap a photo of the planning notice, please do!

  7. gocz

    This may be a bit left field, but when I studied architecture at Nottingham in the 80’s, there was a department of town planning attached. The staff members were sometimes involved in providing local community groups with cunning ruses under the Town & County Planning Act which could delay or prohibit various anti-social applications. Is there a department of Urban Planning in a London university with sympathetic staff who might know of alternative paragraphs of the T&CPA which might assist Greenwich Planners in refusing the application?

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