Concern about too many betting shops in Romford

ONE of the founder members of a new group hoping to restore civic pride in Romford has said Havering Council is failing the town centre after a parade of shops now has four betting shops within yards of each other.

Chris Davies, of the Romford Civic Society, said that one of the ideas he will be bringing to the group will be the number of gambling premises in South Street.

He said: “We’ve had two more open in the past 12 months, that’s four gambling shops almost in a row. Ironically in between the bars and pubs too. It seems this area will be for booze and betting only in the near future.”

A new Paddy Power is due to open in the street, next to Yates’ bar, in an area where there is already a Ladbrokes, Betfred and a Coral bookmakers nearby.

Mr Davies, 28, claims that the existence of the premises shows that the council is failing to attract more family friendly premises into the area.

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But the council said it is out of its hands whether or not bookmakers open in the town centre.

Leader of Havering Council Cllr Michael White said: “Under national legislation as a local authority we cannot refuse a licence application on the basis of the number of betting shops already open in an area.”

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The Romford Civic Society is a new, non-political, group for people concerned about the town and looking to make it more distinctive and attractive.

Mr Davies said: “We are different from the residents’ associations because they actually want to sit on the council. We are just going to be consulting residents, and hopefully we can work with the council.”

The group is still in its formative stages and is deciding what direction to take. It is affliated to the national charity Civic Voice.

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