Church leaders in Bradford back T&A campaign to Beat the Betting Blight (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Church leaders in Bradford back T&A campaign to Beat the Betting Blight
The City centre mission priest has backed the Telegraph & Argus’s Beat the Betting Blight campaign, launched to make it more difficult for bookies to set up shop in Bradford.
The T&A revealed yesterday Bradford now has ten bookies operating in the city, as well as eight amusement centres and two casinos.
Bradford Council has said it is looking to take direct action to stop parts of the city becoming overrun by betting shops.
The T&A believes that all premises where gambling is the main part of the business should have to apply for a special licence or be subject to a special planning category that would give local authorities the power to refuse them if they felt to do otherwise would be detrimental to the local shopping environment.
The Reverend Chris Howson and the Bishop of Bradford, the Right Reverend Nick Baines have declared their support for restricting gambling establishments.
Mr Howson said: “Well done to the T&A for this campaign.
“You have got to understand that betting and gambling shops are a net loss to Bradford.
“It takes more money out of the local economy than it puts in and it is in the interests of Bradford to reduce the number of betting shops and encourage small businesses to come in their place.
“It also looks like a declining city centre when you see gambling shops and loan sharks.”
The Bishop said that “Whereas smoking and alcohol have become increasingly subject to restrictions on sale and advertising, gambling has expanded to fill the vacuum”.
“Why has this destructive and addictive culture been given such an easy ride?” he added.
“It is always the poor and vulnerable who lose out. I will support any move to restrict the number of gambling outlets in Bradford – we need the sort of shops and entertainment outlets that will bring all sorts of people into the centre and betting shops will not do that.”
Councillor David Green said that they were unable to stop the opening of the latest William Hill branch in Bradford in Bank Street as the premises had been used by a financial services company.