Gambling firms who want to open up new betting shops on the high street may find they are stopped from doing so under new plans to give local authorities more control over the make-up of their high streets.
In local communities up and down the country concerns have been expressed about the clustering of betting shops on some high streets. These changes give local communities a voice in deciding whether they want another shop opening and support a broader package of common sense measures to enhance and rejuvenate our high streets.
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. 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.
Communities Minister and Bristol West MP, Stephen Williams, said:
"I am delighted to announce that the Coalition Government is giving councils planning powers to control betting shops, as was called for by the Liberal Democrats.
"Preventing betting shops from opening where the community is against such a move was one of my top priorities after being appointed as a Minister in the Department for Communities and Local Government.
"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."
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."
This story was originally posted on the GOV.UK website, which can be found here.