News that another betting shop may open in central Tooting is being met with anger by the local community. The former HS Samuel jewelers at 17 Mitcham Road has been targeted for planning and licensing permission to become a bookies.
Tooting residents have expressed their dismay about a new betting shop being located in the town centre to Graveney Councillors and MP Sadiq Khan.
Sadiq said: ‘Many of my constituents are concerned that there is already a heavy concentration of betting shops in Tooting, especially along the High Street, including Tooting High Street, Garratt Lane and Mitcham Road. Local residents, who live and shop in the area do not want another betting shop to open in Tooting Broadway and I share their concerns. It is important that Wandsworth Council encourages diversity on our High Street and does not allow so many betting shops to operate in one town centre.
In a recent article in the Evening Standard Tooting was described as ‘rooting’ and ‘the next Shoreditch’, following the recent surge in popular bars, restaurants and art clubs on the High Street. The popular franchise, Eggfree Cake Box has just opened in Tooting and the Soho House group are soon to open a Chicken Shop on Tooting High Street. It is fantastic to see Tooting attracting exciting new businesses and being seen to the outside world as a desirable place to live, eat and shop, but I am very concerned that allowing any more betting shops to open on our High Street will put people off from shopping here and other retailers from setting up in business here.
Another concern is that a betting shop in such a prominent location, across from Tooting Broadway Station, could attract more on-street drinking in the area and therefore lead to more anti-social behaviour and disruption. There is an alleyway adjacent to the property where groups can gather, and there is a real worry that this could ultimately lead to the site becoming a source of noise and disturbance in the local area, and one that residents avoid.’
Graveney ward Councillor Andy Gibbons said ‘It’s important that the local community objects to this application as residents’ opinion should count when it comes to deciding what kind of area we want to live in. A lot of school children travel through Tooting Broadway to get home, and they shouldn’t be walking past a parade of gambling arcades, bookies and pawn shops. The government should be looking at ways to keep a mixed economy in town centres, not making it easier to turn retailers in to betting shops.’
You can find the application and object online here: http://planning.wandsworth.gov.uk/WAM/showCaseFile.do?appType=planning&appNumber=2013/5390
Sign Sadiq’s petition to save Tooting high street: http://www.sadiqkhan.org.uk/save_our_high_street?recruiter_id=27509
Labour’s policy on betting shops: http://www.labour.org.uk/betting-shops-clustering-in-areas-of-deprivation
Evening Standard article on Tooting: http://www.standard.co.uk/goingout/attractions/tooting-is-officially-rooting-sw17s-best-bars-restaurants-and-culture-8929104.html