Gambling

Written evidence submitted by Councillor David Schmitz, Liberal Democrat Councillor for Haring e y Ward (GA 31)

I wish to record my agreement with the submissions made by the Ladder Community Safety Partnership (otherwise known as the LCSP). 

 I also wish to support the suggestion made by Cllrs Brabazon and Canver that members of the select committee ought to visit the Green Lanes area of the Borough of Haringey in order that they may see for themselves (a) the effect of clustering of gambling establishments upon the appearance and general ambience of the area, and (b) the way in which the 4-terminal per location rule is undermined if a number of narrow shopfronts, close to one another, are converted to gambling user.

 The only point of substance that I would wish to add is that the observations by the LCSP have cross party support. In particular, on 29th July 2010 Haringey Council unanimously passed a motion which resolved "t o lobby the Government to change the planning laws so as to prohibit changes of use to betting shops in all cases unless planning permission is obtained for that purpose and to give local councils the power to refuse licensing applications for gambling premises licences for betting shops wherever the local authority considers that there is excessive provision of such premises."

  Lastly, and incidentally, I would note that although neither I nor my party felt able to support the suggested amendment by David Lammy to the Localism Bill which would have required that gambling premises be assigned to a new use class (thereby abolishing the deemed planning permission which the present law gives to the conversion of premises from various other uses to uses for gambling) my opposition is entirely based upon the inappropriateness (from a legal point of view) of cluttering up use classes with primary legislation. An amendment to the relevant statutory instrument, which would do away with any deemed permission to convert premises to gambling user, is something which I would strongly support.

 June 2011

Prepared 29th July 2011