Paddy Power takes fight to open second branch in Kilburn to the government
- Credit: Archant
A national bookmaker’s chain is refusing to back down in its bid to open a ninth gambling den on Kilburn High Road – despite a council ruling it would have a “harmful impact” on the community.
Paddy Power has launched an appeal after Camden Council refused permission for it to open a second branch on the busy thoroughfare dubbed the “bookmakers’ mile” in July last year.
The town hall is readying itself for a showdown with the firm, which has rejected residents’ concerns that another branch would lead to a worrying concentration of gambling shops on the street.
One resident, a mother of two young children who objected to the initial application in April last year, said: “I am thoroughly opposed to this development. Another betting shop is the last thing that Kilburn high road needs.
“I am a local resident who takes pride in this area and it is so disheartening to take this location could become yet another negative contribution to the high street.
“I am also a mother and I don’t want to have to walk past a betting shop with them just get to the supermarket or Boots.”
The proposed site in a former shoe shop is just 130 metres from a branch of bookmakers William Hill and 64 metres from another gambling shop near the railway bridge, as well as being less than nine minute’s walk away from six other casino or bookmaker’s premises.
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It is thought a law limiting bookmakers to just four fixed odds betting terminals (FOTB’s), considered to be one of the most addictive and expensive forms of gambling, has led businesses to open multiple branches in the same area.
But Paddy Power, which recently merged with rival firm Betfair, have hit back, claiming a further betting shop would add “much needed vitality and footfall” to the road in addition to creating five new jobs.
Tulip Siddiq, Labour MP for Hampstead and Kilburn, told the Times: “Anybody who has walked down Kilburn High Street will have noticed the sheer number of gambling shops.”
“Individuals can lose up to £300 per minute on the machines inside. We must recognise the scale of the misery these fixed-odds machines have created. The first step would be to support the initial decision against yet another shop on Kilburn high street.”
The appeal hearing, which is scheduled for April 12 this year, will be decided by the government’s planning inspector.
A council spokesman said they would be “defending their decision to refuse planning permission.”
If the planning inspector upholds the council’s decision, Paddy Power will have to take any further appeal to the High Court.
A spokeswoman for Paddy Power Betfair said: “At a time when many high streets are facing challenges, Paddy Power Betfair’s expanding retail presence adds much needed vitality and footfall to localities around the country.
“We invest over £250,000 in each shop we open to create an environment where our customers can have the best entertainment experience on the high street.”
Residents have until February 12 to submit their comments to the planning inspectorate.