A community is united in a fight against plans for a new betting shop – amid concerns about the impact gambling is having on the area.
Bookmaker Paddy Power have submitted a gambling licence application for a new branch in the former Chicken Cottage in London Road, West Croydon, but numerous businesses have written to Croydon Council urging them to refuse it.
Residents, members of the Tamil Business Forum, London Road Business Association and West Croydon Community Forum each submitted their opposition to the new shop, citing crime and the level of deprivation in the area as two of their main concerns.
Last month, politicians in Croydon called for changes to gambling laws after shock figures showed more than £160m was spent on betting machines in Croydon North in 2012.
Ganapathy Kasinathan of the London Road Business Association said: “This is a poor area and having another shop targets people already desperate for money.
“There is another Paddy Power just a few minutes walk away in North End, so there is no need for another. We want to regenerate this area and these types of shop do not help.”
Patrick Ratnaraja, director of Croydon Tamil Business Forum said: “London Road has already been affected by high levels of crime and opening another betting shop will just lead to more.
“We already have so many betting shops in London Road, we want a vibrant and diverse commercial area."
Steve Reed, MP for Croydon North said: “Residents and business owners are very concerned London Road looks shabby and run-down because the council has failed to invest properly in the area. Yet another betting shop will simply add to that sense of decline.
“London Road needs a diverse range of attractive shops and businesses that will encourage shoppers to come and spend money there.
"There’s plenty of evidence that a cluster of betting shops encourages antisocial behaviour and we really don’t need any more of that."
In its planning application, Paddy Power said the new shop would have 'minimal impact' on residents and businesses.
It said: “The betting shop will open similar times to other surrounding shops.
“We consider the plans are entirely acceptable.”