'Stop the invasion of betting shops and estate agents in Kingston': Conservative councillors calls for greater planning powers to control high streets (From Surrey Comet)
Contact us: Got a photo? Text 'SLPICS' to 80360. Got a story? Call the newsdesk: 020 8744 4244
'Stop the invasion of betting shops and estate agents in Kingston': Conservative councillors calls for greater planning powers to control high streets
Is Kingston being overrun with betting shops and estate agents?
That is the view of Conservative leader Howard Jones, who will tonight put forward a motion calling for local councils to be given greater powers when it comes to choosing what shops go on the high street.
Coun Jones wants the council to team up with other London boroughs and lobby MPs and ministers for “more control over planning in these important local areas”.
Coun Jones said: “We need more local powers in relation to planning the high street.
“There is a proliferation of betting shops and estate agents – we’ve got five betting shops in New Malden alone.
“I know there are a number of local councils of all colours who feel the same way.”
The number of betting shops and estate agents on the UK’s high streets has risen in recent years, as a result of both the economic climate and a loophole in current planning laws. Betting shops and estate agents are classed in the same category as banks and building societies, and means such businesses can move into empty bank buildings without applying for a change of use.
Coun Jones said councils should be allowed to oppose such developments if the area is already “well served” by those business.
Conservative colleague coun Priyen Patel, who is seconding the motion, said: “I’m not against any betting shops or any estate agents opening, but what council’s lack is the power to say: ‘that’s enough’.
But Liberal Democrat councillor Chrissie Hitchcock accused the Tories of “playing politics” in the run-up to next year’s local elections.
Coun Hitchcock, chair of Kingston’s town neighbourhood committee, licensing committee and planning sub-committee and vice-chair of development control, said: “I agree with the sentiment of the motion, but they know the administration can’t do anything about it.
“They’re doing this because there’s an election coming up. They’re just playing politics.”
What do you think? Call 020 8744 4255 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Simon Peat, musician, Kingston
“That is all Kingston is.
“Half the town centre has gone. They are vile.”
Robert Taylor, 51, surveyor, West Molesey
"I don't really have an opinion on them, I’m not really bothered either way.
"I haven’t noticed an increase."
Nadya Rachova, 50, housewife Surbiton
"I am not bothered by betting shops in the area, and I haven’t noticed an increase."
James Bell, 21, sales assistant, Kingston
"I haven’t really noticed Estate agents, but there has been an increase in betting shops.
"I go to betting shops - we need them, they bring excitement to sport, but too many is too much."
Mahsa Nouri, 25, student, Kingston
"I have lived here three years and I haven’t noticed any more betting shops.
"There are too many estate agents, they are all linked together."
Maral Tabib 30, student, Surbiton
“There are too many estate agents in Kingston. There are less in Surbiton.
“I have not noticed an increase in betting shops."
Comments are closed on this article.