This petition was one of two circulating. The other had well over 100 signatures. However, some of those signatures will not count since the objectors do not 'reside' in the vicinity and the petition was attached to an objection based on the grounds that there are already too many betting shops, and therefore, by law, cannot be accepted. Nevertheless it is an indication of how everyone feels. Unfortunately, too, a petition only counts as 'one' objection. The hearing before the Licensing Committee at which objections may be heard will possibly be held in early February.
We could keep the petition (based on the grounds that gambling attracts and is associated with crime and disorder) going beyond the Licensing Objection deadline (Wednesday), and this can be accepted nearer the date of the hearing in February if it is supplementary to an already existing objection. *
But because of the stated position of Lewisham council (see previous post) and, indeed, of other London boroughs and councils across the country, it is unlikely to make any difference to the outcome. It appears that even if someone got knifed in Paddy Power tomorrow, or loads of people got shot dead in an armed robbery at Coral, it would make no difference to the fact that Lewisham won't turn down the licence because Betfred would appeal and appeal until they get their way. The council say they cannot afford to fight them.
A change in the law is required.
Therefore we have started a NEW e-Petition to lobby Parliament to amend the 2005 Gambling Act to give local authorities greater powers to refuse permission to the betting chains. We need this to go viral across the country, so if you have any friends and relations in other parts of the UK, please tell them about it.
Stop Betting Shops Taking Over Our High StreetsSign the petition now at www.gopetition.com/petition/42066.html
This is intended to be a cross-party campaign, but was inspired by the reply Diane Abbot MP got from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport who told her that they were unconvinced the law needed changing. Ken Livingstone will also hopefully become more vocal about the problem once he gets his campaign for Mayor underway (his campaign manager is David Lammy MP, who like Abbott, has been lobbying on this problem for some time).
We hope our own council and MP will speak out in due course.
*More news on this shortly...OH! Here it is!
No to Betfred in Deptford High StreetSign the petition now at www.gopetition.com/petition/42164.html
TWO PETITIONS – ONE AIM!