Let people control their high streets
  • Petitioned Eric Pickles

This petition was delivered to:

Eric Pickles

Let people control their high streets

    1. Rowenna  Davis
    2. Petition by

      Rowenna Davis

      London, United Kingdom

I'm a councillor in Southwark where there are already 77 betting shops. As small shops shut in the downturn, bookies are opening in their place.  And this story is being repeated across the UK. 

But at the moment, local councils can’t control the number of betting shops in their community because they’re classified in the same way as banks, estate agents and restaurants.

We have a rare chance to change that. Mary Portas (also known as Queen of Shops) recently published a review of the high street and recommended giving local people new powers to limit the number of bookies in their communities. I'm campaigning for the Government to accept the recommendation.

Right now, the Government is deciding how to respond, promising to report back by May. If enough people speak out, they will be forced to reclassify betting shops. 

There’s nothing wrong with responsible gambling, but too many bookies encourage poverty traps and crowd out other small businesses. Changing the classification would let local residents decide if they want more betting shops in their area. 

Like the charity GRASP (Gambling Reform & Society Perception), I believe it's critical that the Government reclassify betting shops so local people can control the number in their area. I hope everyone that agrees will add their name to the campaign.

Local democracy should be a principle, not a gamble. Our high streets don’t deserve anything less. 

You can watch one of GRASP's videos here: http://youtu.be/S-Sx4wzme4I

Recent signatures

    News

    1. SUCCESS! NEW CRACK DOWN ON MACHINES!

      Rowenna  Davis
      Petition Organizer

      The front page of the Daily Mail today claims that the government is going to crack down on high stakes gambling machines - the cause of proliferation in this country!

      I have no doubt this is partly down to our campaigning, so thanks to everyone who signed the petition.

      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2208158/Tough-new-curbs-high-stake-gambling-machines-bid-protect-problem-punters.html

    2. Reached 2,000 signatures
    3. The Campaign for Real Ale backs High Streets First!

      Rowenna  Davis
      Petition Organizer

      “As a consumer group with over 135,000 members campaigning to support pubs CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale is supporting calls to give people greater control over the future of their High Streets. A loophole in planning laws means valued pubs can be converted into betting shops or pay day loan stores with local people being given no say whatsoever. Operators of betting shops and pay day loan stores are buying pubs to take advantage of this loophole and it is time local people are given a voice.”

    4. Southwark Living Streets backs the campaign!

      Rowenna  Davis
      Petition Organizer

      "Southwark Living Streets backs this campaign as our key remit is to work to try to improve the public realm, especially for pedestrians. This includes general greening projects, reclaiming derelict spaces to provide small pocket parks/spaces, and a general improvement of community amenities. Part of this is to try to make the High Streets in Southwark better places for those who live and work there to enjoy. Currently these once vibrant community-based High Streets are being taken over by gambling joints, fast food places and hubs of licensed premises where late-night revellers create a huge mess for locals to wake up to on Saturday and Sunday mornings. We have done a tremendous amount of work on creating Green Links in the borough; and were successful in a CGS bid to improve the space by St George the Martyr church for public use. We would be keen to be a partner in the campaign to reduce the granting of gambling licences in SE1."

    5. Ealing Labour Group unanimously backs the campaign!

      Rowenna  Davis
      Petition Organizer

      The Labour group in Ealing say they have unanimously backed the campaign and want to pass a council motion about it. Fantastic stuff.

    6. Independent covers High Streets First!

      Rowenna  Davis
      Petition Organizer

      They couldn't have given us a better headline...

      http://blogs.independent.co.uk/2012/02/28/21857/

    7. Owen Jones endorses the campaign

      Rowenna  Davis
      Petition Organizer

      Owen Jones, star commentator and author of Chavs, says:

      "As youth clubs, post offices, libraries and other places that bring our communities together have increasingly vanished from our streets, betting shops have proliferated. It's about time we had a campaign to let our communities have real control over our streets."

    8. BBC News have covered us!

      Rowenna  Davis
      Petition Organizer

      More than 1,100 people have signed a petition backing a campaign to restrict the number of betting shops.

      Southwark Council's High Streets First campaign comes after residents raised concerns over 77 betting shops in the London borough.

      The campaign wants a change in planning laws so that bookmakers moving into spaces emptied by businesses like banks or post-offices could be blocked.

      Read more in the link below

    9. Tom Watson MP has signed the petition

      Rowenna  Davis
      Petition Organizer

      Tom Watson, recently voted the most popular Labour MP, has signed the petition

    10. Reached 1,500 signatures
    11. An open letter to Eric Pickles has been published on the New Statesman

      Rowenna  Davis
      Petition Organizer

      We've asked the minister for communities and local government, Eric Pickles, to support our campaign. Will he reply to this open letter in the press? Let's hope so!

      http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/the-staggers/2012/02/betting-shops-local-councils

    12. Harriet Harman MP endorses the campaign!

      Rowenna  Davis
      Petition Organizer

      Harriet Harman, Labour MP for Camberwell and Peckham, has just sent us this message of support:

      “The proliferation of betting shops is blighting high streets in Peckham and Walworth. Mary Portas has backed Labour’s call to protect high streets from betting shops. Now the Government must act and give betting shops their own Use Class.

      “Giving betting shops their own Use Class would allow local people to have a say and Southwark Council, on behalf of local people, to decide whether having another betting shop on the high street would be right for the area.”

    13. Reached 1,000 signatures
    14. London Assembly Member Jennette Arnold endorses campaign

      Rowenna  Davis
      Petition Organizer

      The lovely GLA member for North East London Jennette Arnold has tweeted her support for the campaign!

      http://twitter.com/#!/JennetteArnold/status/166813100601913344

    15. Reached 750 signatures
    16. Neal Lawson, head of Compass, declares support

      Rowenna  Davis
      Petition Organizer

      Neal Lawson has just signed the petition and sent this quote in via email:

      “Betting shops are part of the great trickle up movement which takes from the poor and gives to the rich. They exploit people’s poverty, desperation and desire for a better life while stacking the odds against them. Communities need to fight back and take control of their high streets – and politicians should help them – or be held to account”.

    17. Reached 250 signatures
    18. Labour List editor pledges support

      Rowenna  Davis
      Petition Organizer

      Mark Ferguson from LabourList sent this quote:

      "I like an occasional flutter, but bookies are taking over our high streets. It's time local people were given a say - and the right to say no."

    19. David Lammy, Labour MP for Tottenham, pledges support

      Rowenna  Davis
      Petition Organizer

      “For anyone that believes that it is time to civilise capitalism, then here is the place to begin. Bookmakers are profiting from poverty. They cluster in deprived urban areas and transform them from hubs of vibrancy to soulless, cheap mini-Las Vegas imitations. In my constituency, there are 40+ bookmakers but not a single bookshop. Residents want to have power to shape their neighbourhoods and take pride in them but are at the mercy of bookies that are based in Gibraltar and Malta. Enough is enough.”

    20. David Parsons, Tory and LGA chair, offers support

      Rowenna  Davis
      Petition Organizer

      “The LGA is pleased that momentum is building behind our efforts, and Rowenna Davis is right to be taking this issue up.

      “Excessive clustering of any type of premises demonstrates the difficulties councils have when it comes to shaping their communities in the interests of residents and local businesses.

      “Councils are looking for changes to the planning system to allow them to develop high streets which are more vibrant and reflect the needs of local people.”

    21. Sunny Hundal, editor of Liberal Conspiracy, endorses the campaign

      Rowenna  Davis
      Petition Organizer

      “I completely support this campaign. The left has to stop talking about the localism agenda and actually do something about it. This is a great example. If Labour wants to give people o a real example of what “responsible capitalism” actually looks like, it should sign up to this. Sign the petition!”

    Supporters

    Reasons for signing

    • Desmond O'Hara HAMPTON TW12 2RJ, UNITED KINGDOM
      • 9 months ago

      Too many gambling machines destroying lives & families

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Mira Vogel ILFORD, UNITED KINGDOM
      • 11 months ago

      Gambling machines are considered addictive by most of those who play them regularly - and those people are at the most financial risk.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Alberto Santin LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM
      • 11 months ago

      there are already too many betting shops. this attracts drunks and crime the area. the high street should have a variety of business that all can use. the same goes for the amount of hair dressers which discard human hairs onto the road

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Paul Nightingale LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM
      • 12 months ago

      This is a massive problem. Betting Shops are proliferating in poorer areas, and preying on the vulnerable. They attract anti social behaviour, and put poor people into debt. They have these machines in them that are the crack cocaine of

      gambling. They are ruining our High Streets. Local People should have the control of what they have in their streets.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Edmond Yeo LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM
      • about 1 year ago

      We are losing our communities!!!

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

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