Earlier today, Stephen Timms, Member of Parliament for East Ham and Cllr David Christie hosted a drop in meeting with local residents to discuss how local residents feel about the number of betting shops in their community. Green Street East Councillors Nirmal Kaur Chadha and Rohima Rahman also took part.
The meeting was at the Katherine Road Community Centre. Stephen and David were particularly keen to canvass opinion on two new betting shops which bookmaker, Paddy Power, are looking to open in Green Street and High Street North. While local planning laws remain inadequate, Newham Council has refused to grant Paddy Power the gambling licences needed to open the two shops they have proposed. Paddy Power has appealed against Newham Council’s refusal of the gambling licences, and the case will soon be heard in court.
Residents who attended the meeting today were asked to complete forms explaining their thoughts on betting shops. They were also offered the chance to sign a petition against the opening of the two new Paddy Power shops.
One resident commented afterwards: “I am very concerned about the number of betting shops. There are many problems caused by these outlets – vulnerable people are exploited and this can lead to them getting into financial problems.” Another resident added: “It makes no sense for one of the poorest boroughs in the country to have so many betting shops.”
Speaking after the meeting, Stephen said: “I am pleased that so many residents came along to the meeting today and discuss their concerns with me the local councillors. It seems clear to me, not just from today but from letters and emails that I have received in recent months, that people in East Ham are sick and tired of betting shops opening.
“I am pleased the Council are challenging Paddy Power and hope that the views of local residents will be taken into account when a decision is made. In the longer run, the government must allow councils the power to decide whether or not to welcome such betting practices to their high streets.”