Wandsworth Labour Group will put forward a proposal to protect our high streets at next Wednesday’s Council meeting.
‘This Council notes the tremendous contribution made by our Town Centre Managers to the five Town Centres spread across the Borough – Tooting, Balham, Clapham Junction, Wandsworth Town and Putney. The challenges they have faced in addressing the need to maintain and improve our Town Centres are not to be under-estimated and they have worked hard to maximise vibrancy.
Maintaining a diverse and thriving range of shops giving the current level of applications for betting shops is proving difficult, and this Council is concerned that improvements seen to our Town Centres over recent years might be threatened.
This Council resolves:
1.) To retain and support the team of Town Centre Managers, who have developed close relationships with local businesses and are best placed to maintain and oversee further improvement in our Town Centres;
2.) To work closely with the Police, as an adequate police presence is required to deter pickpockets and street robbery, and to deal with anti-social behaviour;
3.) To instruct officers to investigate options for increasing staff able to issue Fixed Penalty Notices for littering, dog fouling, fly-tipping and parking offences;
4.) To closely scrutinise applications by gambling outlets and payday lenders – ensuring our High Streets are not over-run with betting offices and slot machines.’
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Planning permission for two Coral betting shops near Tooting Broadway tube has been refused by Wandsworth Council’s Planning Application Committee. This follows a swell of opposition by local residents, local Labour Councillors and MP for Tooting Sadiq Khan.
Wandworth Councillors voted against granting planning permission for the betting shop at 64 Tooting High Street on design grounds, and at the site of the former H Samuels at 17A Mitcham Road, on grounds that it would not be in keeping with the character of the town centre. Approval of the applications would have brought the number of betting shops in Tooting up to 24.
Local MP Sadiq Khan had raised objections to both applications to Wandsworth Council on behalf of the local community, urging the council to listen to residents’ concerns and to take action to encourage diversity on Wandsworth’s high streets.
Following government changes to the rules on high street planning, last year, which has made it easier for betting shops to open in our town centres, Sadiq recently launched his ‘Save Our High Street’ campaign. The campaign calls on the government to give more power to residents to shape our high streets and local councils to be given power to control the number of betting shops that open – a power they don’t currently possess.
Sadiq Khan MP said:
“Like many local residents I am relieved that Wandsworth Council have refused planning permission for yet another two bookies in Tooting. We already have too many, and certainly don’t want any more, and that is why alongside the community I have been so vocal in my objections.
“The response to the ‘Save Our High Street’ campaign, with hundreds of people already adding their name to the petition in the last month, has demonstrated the strength of feeling against more betting shops.
“Coral can still appeal these decisions – and if they are successful this would mean local views are ignored. The lack of Council powers to control the number of betting shops that open in our community needs to change – and I would encourage people to sign the petition now – to send a clear message to the government; that we need to say no to more betting shops.”