LGA asks for new rules to stop clustering of betting shops in town centres

Councils leaders across London are calling for tougher licensing powers to protect high streets from a ‘blight’ of betting shops.

The Local Government Assocation (LGA) said rules needed changing in England and Wales to prevent bookmakers being ‘clustered’ in town centres.

Existing ‘restrictive’ planning and licensing rules do not allow councils to act on the concerns expressed by members of the local community claims the LGA.

The LGA, which represents 370 councils, said local authorities were “left powerless” when it came to limiting the number of shops opening in a given area.

According to changes in planning laws introduced last year, it has become easier for betting shops to convert existing buidings without the need for planning permission.

In order to take control of the issue, the government must allow councils to assess the negative impact of local economic growth or existing businesses.

The LGA said the number of betting shops in some parts of London had doubled in the past decade.