Sadiq Khan slams government for ‘pulling rug’ from under protestors by giving green light to Tooting’s 23rd betting shop

Tooting MP Sadiq Khan has blasted the government’s decision to approve another betting shop despite objections from residents and councillors.

Wandsworth Council backed residents and refused the application when it was submitted to the planning committee back in February.

However the government’s Planning Inspectorate has overturned their decision and given the new shop the go ahead.

When the shop takes over the old H Samuel Jewellers site on Mitcham Lane it will increase the total number of betting shops in Tooting to 23, compared to the national average of 14.

This follows government changes to the rules on high street planning last year which has made it easier for betting shops to open.

Mr Khan launched a Save Our High Street campaign last year which led the opposition to the planning application.

He said: “Just when we had convinced the council to do the right thing by rejecting the planning application for yet another bookies in Tooting, the government has pulled the rug from under them.

“How can it be right for the government to impose a decision on us, when the local community and our elected representatives have said no to another betting shop opening on our high street?

More than 1,000 people have signed the Save Our High Street petition which calls on the government to give more power to councils to control the number of betting shops.

Mr Khan said he will continue to press the government to take action before any more betting shops open on our high streets.

He said: “This is exactly the reason why I have been calling for changes in the law on high street planning.

“Power needs to be given back to the local community, so we can say yes to the shops we want to see and no to the ones we don’t.

“The government need to stop stalling and implement the changes to give local councils the power to decide what is best for our community.”

Pictures courtesy of Sadiq Khan, with thanks

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