Newham Council considering High Court appeal against betting shop decision

A punter tries out a gambling machine.

A punter tries out a gambling machine. - Credit: PA Archive/Press Association Images

Newham Council could go to the High Court over a judge’s decision to grant a planning application for a betting shop they had previously refused.

Paddy Paddy won a landmark court case at Thames Magistrate’s Court on Monday June 10 after the council’s licensing sub-committee rejected a bid from the bookies in February to take over a premises at 297 Green Street, Upton Park.

But the council is currently looking at the possibility of applying for a judicial review against the decision by seeing if it has the budget and the legal grounding to launch such an appeal.

Newham Council has also launched a campaign to change the law and a council spokesperson said it was prepared to team up with other local authorities to tackle the growing number of betting shops.

There are currently 81 betting shops in the borough and planning application was refused on the belief most of its profits would be made from Fixed Odd Betting Terminals and it would contribute to anti-social behaviour in the area.

Cllr Ian Corbett, who sat on the sub-committee for the original planning decision, said: “We are clear that the law needs to be changed so that our residents do not have to suffer anti-social behaviour connected to betting shops. We have an industry that currently, in law, is above families and hard-working small businesses. This cannot be right.

“If nothing else, this case has exposed a serious problem and woken up the rest of the country to the fact that the current laws will not prevent the march of the high street bookmakers.”

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The Association of British Bookmakers (ABB) has welcomed the court decision as “common sense”.

A spokesperson added: “The judgement particularly notes that a group of people standing outside a betting shop does not amount to disorder or crime, and that incidents of 3 robberies over the course of a year or more does not prove the link either.

“Betting shops are highly regulated and socially responsible businesses that have been trading on the high street, investing in town centres and creating jobs for over fifty years.”

A William Hill betting shop on High Street North, East Ham, is also due before the council’s licensing committee later this month.