Local councils given more power to control the number of betting shops opening

April 30, 2014 2:19 PM
Originally published by UK Liberal Democrats

Local councils will be given more power to control the number of betting shops in their area.

Gambling firms who want to open new betting shops will have to submit a planning application and local councils will be able to refuse applications and stop new shops opening.


Communities across the country have expressed concerns about the clustering of betting shops on some high streets.

These changes allow local communities to have a say in deciding if they want another betting shop opening, and support a package of measures to rejuvenate high streets.

Liberal Democrat Communities Minister Stephen Williams said:

"Across the country many people are concerned about the explosion in the number of betting shops in some high streets. The Coalition Government is determined to build a stronger economy and a fairer society with healthy and diverse high streets that aren't dominated by betting shops, this is why we are now giving councils tough new powers to prevent the proliferation of betting shops in their area."

In the current system, a betting shop is in the same category as a bank or estate agent and can open without the need for a planning application when a premises becomes vacant. The changes to the use means that local authorities will have the power to scrutinise applications and refuse them where there are grounds to do so.

Liberal Democrat Culture, Media and Sports Spokesperson John Leech MP said:

"People up and down the country have seen bookmakers taking over their high streets thanks to lax planning rules.

"Healthy high streets need to have a diverse range of shops and businesses so that people want to go there.

"Putting this Liberal Democrat plan into action will mean local areas being able to have a real say over their high streets for the first time, vetoing new betting shops where there are already too many."