Labour councillors in Tower Hamlets have teamed up with their counterparts in Hackney to promote an ambitious move to wrestle back control of the capital’s high streets. At last week’s Council meeting Labour urged the Mayor to sign the borough up to a cross-borough and cross-party request to Government which would give Councils more power to control the proliferation of betting shops on their high streets.
The recently passed Sustainable Communities Act allows Council’s to make proposals to Government for changes in the law which would help them to reflect the wishes of residents and is being used by the Labour Mayor of Hackney, Jules Pipe, to ask Government to create a specific planning category for betting shops which would allow councils more control over their high street.
The move is supported by the Local Works campaign being run by the Unlock Democracy pressure group. Since the Council vote Local Works have set up a campaign webpage urging their supporters to ask the Mayor to support the joint action following the Mayor’s councillors failing to support the initiative.
Currently 19 other London boroughs have signed up: Hackney, Barking and Dagenham, Brent, Camden, Croydon, Ealing, Enfield, Greenwich, Haringey, Havering, Islington, Lambeth, Lewisham, Newham, Redbridge, Southwark, Sutton, Waltham Forest and Westminster have already signed up to support this joint proposal.
Labour’s spokesperson for Work and Local Economic Growth, Cllr Anwar Khan, said:
“Many residents tell us they are concerned not only that there are too many betting shops but that they are taking valuable high street space away from other businesses. This change would really help to allow councils to reshape their high streets to better reflect the wishes of the community and we urge the Mayor to join us in supporting it.”
Steve Shaw, National Co-ordinator of Local Works, said,
“Betting shops are becoming a blight on our local communities. We congratulate the Labour councillors of Tower Hamlets for calling on the Mayor to support this important proposal that would help stop ever more betting shops opening. We urge the Mayor to support the proposal.”