Residents concerns over plans for an 11th gambling den in Kilburn High Road
PUBLISHED: 10:00 19 December 2013
Residents are outraged by plans to open an 11th gambling business in a high street awash with bookies and amusement arcades.
Concerns have been raised over a proposal by betting shop chain Paddy Power to open its second shop in Kilburn High Road.
Cristina Avery, who has lived in Kilburn for 30 years, told the Times the council needs to focus on attracting other businesses to the area or shoppers could be driven away.
She said: “We want some decent shops around here, not more betting shops. They (Brent Council) should have a little more thought about what is happening to the area, and having more betting shops is a disgrace. We must look after our high street, otherwise it will degenerate.”
The High Road, which is split between Brent and Camden Council, has become a magnet for gambling businesses in the last few years with bookmakers William Hill boasting three branches and Ladbrokes two.
The new Paddy Power will open on the Brent side if it is given planning permission.
Ali Mansour who works at a local furniture store claims local businesses are being damaged.
He said: “Of course it deters people from coming into the shop, and I don’t think it’s good for the local community.
“It affects our business. You get little kids hanging around the shop spending what little money they have and you get the alcoholics drinking around the store before heading off to the betting shop.”
Proposals for the new betting shop follows efforts by several UK councils which have campaigned to curb their growth in high streets.
Lobbying group Campaign for Fairer Gambling claims that London is seeing an influx in bookies thanks to recent legislation which limits the number of fixed odds betting terminals in single shops to four.
In a bid to counter this, bookmakers are now opening multiple shops on high streets to maximise the number of machines.
Cllr Mike Katz, Camden councillor for the Kilburn ward, who has lobbied against the flurry of bookmakers and pay day lender shops on the high street, claims local residents have every right to be upset and backs calls for local authorities to be given tighter controls over betting shop applications. “The high street is turning into one long stretch of bookies and pay day lenders,” he said.
“It feels like they are preying on people who are up against it when people really want to see a wider spread of shops.”
Brent Council said it did not comment on planning applications.
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