Gerald Vernon Jackson, Leader of the LGA Liberal Democrats, has welcomed a new announcement that will enable councils to keep a lid on the numbers of payday loan companies or betting shops allowed to open.
Cllr Vernon Jackson said:
“Councils and their communities have repeatedly called for powers to tackle problems caused by the proliferation of betting shops and pay day loan companies. We are pleased the Government has acted on the concerns expressed both by the LGA and Liberal Democrat Councillors. Putting bookmakers in a new planning class will rightly ensure councils can consider and scrutinise all applications for new betting shops. However, this will not help areas with existing clustering of betting shops as it will still allow a rival betting company to simply take over a vacant betting or payday loan ship without needing planning permission."
“We are also pleased the Government has listened to council concerns and will put an end to relaxed planning rules allowing offices to be converted into homes without planning permission.
“They have led to existing businesses being evicted and seen homes created which do not meet the identified needs of a community. This has put pressure on schools, roads and health services, as well as making fewer houses which are affordable at a time when rents and house prices are soaring.
“This is why councils ultimately need much greater local discretion to shape their high streets and help stimulate local economic growth. The introduction of a new cumulative impact test would rightly give councils the power to also veto new shops in areas already saturated by betting shops if firms can't prove a new shop would benefit the local economy.
“Communities need more say on what type of businesses and shops open in their local area. This is vital in getting people back out shopping in their local high street or town centre.”