Twenty third betting shop set to open in Tooting
A 23rd betting shop could be set to open up in Tooting, despite a public outcry opposing the plans.
Wandsworth Council granted Coral a license to allow gambling in the former H Samuel's Jewellers building in Mitcham Lane, Tooting, at a meeting on Thursday night.
The license gives Coral the power to allow betting in the shop, including four gaming machines giving out a maximum prize of £500.
But the decision has left campaigners disappointed, with 22 betting shops already operating in the area.
Last week Coral were refused planning permission to alter the building, giving campaigners false hope the betting shop would not get the go-ahead.
A Save Our High Street campaign was launched by businesses to combat the growing numbers of betting shops in Tooting.
MP for Tooting Sadiq Khan spoke on behalf of constituents during the meeting who voiced concerns over the high concentration of bookies.
Further objections include fears the shop will attract street drinking, anti social behaviour and the loitering of patrons outside the proposed premises.
Changes to high street planning laws which came in last year makes it easier for betting shops to open in town centres.
Mr Khan is calling on the government to give more power to residents and local authorities to control the number of betting shops opening.
He said: "I welcomed the council’s decision to refuse planning permission for the same betting shop last week, but their decision to now grant Coral a gambling licence shows that this was just a token gesture.
"If the council was really listening to what local residents want and was committed to improving our town centre it would have refused to grant Coral a licence last night."
However the council has argued the lack of planning permission will still prevent Coral opening a new branch in the site.
A spokesman said: "Changes to the law introduced under the last Government's 2005 Gambling Act mean it is much more difficult to reject applications for premises licences from betting shops and other gambling businesses.
"However the council has refused to grant this betting shop planning permission, so it is not able to open."
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