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Blackman-Woods criticized government approach

UK shadow planning minister Roberta Blackman-Woods has criticised the government for a change in legislation that she claims could lead to a further rise in the number of high-street bookmakers.

Blackman-Woods said that the UK had already witnessed a 3% rise in betting shops over the past 12 months.

“While many of us have been arguing for greater powers to assist local communities in shaping their areas, the government has been busy giving away the powers that do exist to provide for that,” Blackman-Woods said.

“The government’s approach is entirely the wrong one and profoundly anti-localist. It is strange that they seek to badger the changes as indicating that they are absolutely committed to enabling individuals and community groups to have a greater say over every aspect of their area, including their high streets.”

Blackman-Woods said that the opposition Labour party would introduce rules for councils to categorise business like betting shops in a separate class to prevent “over-saturation” of any particular business.

The MP also said that Labour would allow local authorities to determine permitted development roles locally in order to keep with local “needs and aspirations”, “strengthen” neighbourhood planning and consider “retail diversity” schemes to enable communities to shape their high street.

Brandon Lewis, communities and local government minister, said that the current coalition government is “not looking to create more regulation on the high street”.