Sunday, May 15, 2011

Betfred appeal against Lewisham Planning decision

On 30 March 2011, Lewisham refused Betfred's planning application (see our post here). It was inevitable that Betfred would appeal against this decision to the government's Planning Inspectorate and now they have.

Those who objected to Betfred opening a new betting shop at 93-95 Deptford High Street are now being given the opportunity again to make their views known to the Planning Inspectorate.

The objections already made at application stage have been forwarded on to the Planning Inspectorate for consideration, but any further observations you may wish to make should be sent directly to:

Mrs Ruth Howell
The Planning Inspectorate
3/14 Eagle Wing
Temple Quay House
2 The Square
Temple Quay
Bristol BS1 6PN

by THURSDAY 9 JUNE 2011.
Comments must be sent in triplicate quoting reference APP/C5690/A/11/2151228/NWF.

Or you can email

Any comments you write on this appeal will be copied by the Planning Inspectorate and forwarded to all parties to the appeal including the appellant.
Those who own a property nearby should make sure they tell the Planning Inspectorate if they want the Inspector to view their objections from their property. He may make a site visit to determine the relevant facts and features.

Anyone is welcome to send in their objections – not just those who have already objected. So please get writing! 

In their appeal, Betfred state:

"...the use of the unit as a licensed betting office rather than a bank/buiding society would not adversely affect the diversity of uses or the vitality and viability of the area. The proposed use will create a level of footfall similar to that of an A1 retail unit."

Except most retail units are not open in the evening encouraging drinking and begging outside on the pavement.

"...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."

Funny, then, that street drinking is only taking place outside betting shops and not other retail outlets...

The Blackheath Bugle has posted the letter from planning here, and suggests his/her readers use the Bugle's comments section to gather case studies, examples and evidence that illustrate why yet another betting shop in Deptford High Street is a bad idea. Feel free to do that on this blog too.

And the bigger picture...

We have been contacted by Joan Ruddock's office to let us know that David Lammy MP is tabling an Amendment to the Localism Bill as it relates to Planning Consent for Betting Offices, and this bill in back in the Commons on Tuesday/Wednesday this coming week and could be called anytime.

The idea of the amendment is to give more powers to local authorities to refuse planning permission to betting shops (as one way of combating the loopholes in the present Gambling Act). There is absolutely no guarantee that the amendment will be called for debate, but if it is, Ms Ruddock would like to speak about the experience on Deptford High Street.

So if you're able to find time to write an objection this week, please copy it to Joan Ruddock's assistant, Jessica.

The petition again...

Meanwhile, the online petition No to Betfred in Deptford High Street is still available for you to add your signature to, if you haven't already. It was addressed to Lewisham Planning, but after 181 signatures we may readdress it to the Planning Inspectorate. People have left some extremely pertinent comments on the petition which makes it worthwhile to continue. Any further signatures and comments may be submitted to the Inspectorate.

Some of these comments were incorporated into my March Planning Objection. This was a pretty long objection but contains a lot of information from surveys and reports about gambling and its effects on vulnerable people and poor communities. Download it here.

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