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Bookie bids to open another branch, despite community campaign
A bookmaker has submitted an application to create a new branch in Leytonstone, despite a community campaign to curb the spread of betting shops in the area.
Paddy Power hope to move into 620 Leytonstone High Road, the site of now-closed Rosens.
If granted permission, the branch will join other betting shops William Hill, Ladbrokes, and Betfred in High Road, part of a 39% increase in betting shops across the borough since 2005.
According to the planning application submitted to Waltham Forest Council on May 27, Paddy Power says the branch will “make a significant contribution to the council’s regeneration objectives and help tackle social deprivation in the local area.”
However, recent applications from bookmakers have come up against stiff opposition from councillors and local residents, who feel the spread of bookmakers contributes to crime and is bad for business.
A bid to open a William Hill store on Church Lane, Leytonstone, was blocked in December 2013 after 1,000 people signed a petition against the development.
Police say there are spikes in criminal activity around bookmakers and often oppose licenses.
Local resident Julia Ingall, of Lambourne Road, Leytonstone, described the latest application as “the last thing that is needed.”
She said: “Leytonstone needs shops on the High Road that serve all sectors of the community and another betting shop will not do that.”
Philip Herlihy, who lives in Bushwood, added: “The shops always seem to have one or two listless punters hanging around outside, giving the area an uneasy feel.”
“They replace the sort of shops most of us would want to use, and so displace footfall around them, increasing a spiral of decline in the High Streets that give our communities their identity.
I’d rather see an empty shop.”
Paddy Power said it will work with the police, arguing that the proposed store will “encourage passive surveillance when other shops are closed in the evenings.”
It concludes that other shops on the High Road will benefit from the customers that the store will draw to the area.
A new Paddy Power branch has recently opened in High Road, Leyton.