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Traders back T&A's Bradford bookies campaign
City centre traders are backing the Telegraph & Argus’s new campaign for a change in the law to help stop our streets becoming over-run with gambling outlets.
Some local businesses operating close to a number of betting shops felt that the sheer number of bookies was unnecessary and that the city centre lacked variety.
Carolyn Callaway, of the Acropolis Cafe on Broadway, said the amount of them affected their business.
She said: “I do support the campaign; it’s ridiculous that there are so many in one block. It is just not needed.
“If there were other shops here then more people would come in, also people can buy drinks in there as well, so I do think it affects business.
“Customers make comments about it saying another betting shop has opened, especially our regular ones, it is disappointing.”
The ‘Beat the Betting Blight’ campaign is not trying to put an end to the legitimate activity of gambling which many people choose to enjoy.
It follows concerns that the number of betting shops and amusement arcades is getting out of hand and that the Council does not have sufficient powers to stop them.
Qaisar Sheikh, manager of Rimmington’s Pharmacy on Bridge Street, said: “This is a sign of where we are at the moment. I think it’s particularly bad on a social level. It’s a shame really. The amount is not needed for the size of the city centre.
“You can’t blame betting shops though. I think the Council needs to put its foot down.”
Current planning rules classify bookmakers alongside financial and professional services, estate agents and employment agencies.
There are now ten bookies operating in the city centre as well as eight amusement centres and two casinos.
The T&A is calling for a change in planning rules that would give local authorities the power to stop a new bookmakers opening if they felt it would be detrimental to the local shopping environment.
However Sukhwinder Caur, owner of City News on Market Street, said she can see both sides.
She said: “The betting shops help us actually in one way. We don’t have a problem against them but I can see both sides. We should have more variety of shops in the area. They could open a toy shop or anything.”