Hackney MP wants new council powers to deal with betting shops

MP Meg Hillier believes the number of betting shops in Hackney has reached its limit

Meg Hillier, the MP for Hackney South and Shoreditch, has spoken out about her concerns over the number of betting shops in Hackney.

Ms Hillier believes councils should have greater powers to allow them to turn down planning and licensing applications from betting companies if they feel their numbers are too high.

Speaking to The Gazette, Ms Hillier said: “I’m not against all betting shops. I’m not a betting person myself but my grandmother used to have a flutter on the Grand National.

“There is a critical mass of how many betting shops you can have though and we’ve got to that point in Hackney.”

Last week, former London Mayor Ken Livingstone and Hackney Mayor Jules Pipe visited a new Paddy Power shop in Mare Street, which has been built on the site of the former Railway Tavern pub, to voice their own concerns about the numbers of bookmakers in shopping areas in the borough.

The Paddy Power shop, which opened on September 10, is the ninth betting shop on Mare Street, with 65 in total in Hackney.

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Ms Hillier said: “We want to see our town centres flourishing and too many betting shops won’t give residents what they need.”

“Another issue is that I don’t think it leads to new people gambling, it’s the same people gambling more often and in many cases, they won’t be able to afford to do so.”