Government refuses new powers for Councils to control bookmakers

The Lewisham Greens have issued a statement in response to the government's dismissal of calls to give Councils greater powers to limit the number of betting shops located on local high streets.
Lewisham's ill-fated attempt to prevent Portland bookmakers setting up shop in Brockley proved to be a test case for Councils, demonstrating how little power they have to limit the number of bookmakers serving local communities. Deptford High Street is among the Lewisham streets to have since been overrun by bookies.
Here's the Green's release:
Since the Gambling Act, which came into force in 2007, made it easier for bookmakers to open new branches, Lewisham has seen a huge rise in the number of licensing applications for betting shops.

By June 2009 the number of valid licences was 97, and more new bookies have opened since then. Deptford recently saw two former pubs, the Deptford Arms and the John Evelyn, converted into betting shops, and campaigners in the area are currently fighting an application for a 8th betting shop on Deptford High Street.

Local people have objected on the grounds that the sheer number of betting shops is crowding out other shops and services from local high streets, and appealed to the government to give councils more powers to refuse betting shop applications.

Yet the government's response to proposals made under the Sustainable Communities Act, which invites communities to suggest ways in which local areas might be improved, states that there is no case for a change in the law, and that councils should “be more confident to use their existing powers”.
Ute Michel, campaigner and spokeswoman for Lewisham Green Party, said:
“The response from the government to our proposal beggars belief. The situation was bad enough a few years ago when we were opposing the first application under the new law for a bookie's on Brockley Road, but it has only got worse since.
“We respect people’s right to bet, so this never was a finger-wagging campaign against gambling.
“It is about the devastating effect on the economic health of local shopping parades and neighbourhoods when bookie after bookie lines a street, crowding out other goods and services and eroding the sense of place and community and we simply wanted to be able to say 'enough is enough'.”