Victorious campaigners prevent an 11th gambling den from opening in Kilburn High Road

Brent & Kilburn Times says:

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Campaigners have won a battle to stop an 11th betting shop from opening in Kilburn High Road, after Brent Council rejected the planning application.

Betting shop chain Paddy Power sought permission to open a second branch in the street, sparking anger from residents and traders.

The High Road, which is split between Brent and Camden Council, has become a magnet for gambling chains in the last few years with bookmakers William Hill boasting three branches and Ladbrokes two. Opponents had claimed the number of bookies attracted anti-social behaviour and was driving away shoppers.

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Cristina Avery, a Kilburn resident who spearheaded the campaign, said she was delighted with the news.

“It is exciting that people can be heard and actually make a difference. It shows that if you strongly believe in something, don’t just sit back; voice your concerns,” she said.

“We will like to thank the Times for the publicity and ensuring that our concerns are heard.”

More than 40 people lodged their objections on the planning application on the council’s website.

Giving the reasons for turning down the application, the council said there was a greater need to preserve retail units in an area saturated with “non-retail units”.

The council’s report added: “[It] would fail to enhance the range of services that is already provided, causing harm to the vitality of Kilburn Town Centre and lessening the attractiveness of its retail offer to shoppers, resulting in the loss of a retail unit in a prime location.”

Cllr Mary Arnold, Labour councillor for Kilburn, who has lobbied the council against the growth of bookmakers, said the council decision was “absolutely necessary” to preserve the quality of the High Road.

She said: “People feel that there are far too many betting shops and certainly do not want another one. Everyone wants to improve the High Road and this means both increasing footfall and the quality of primary shopping frontage, especially retail. This decision shows there is a real strength in community action.”

Cllr Mike Katz, Labour councillor for the Kilburn ward in Camden, said action must be taken to prevent high streets from turning into one long stretch of bookies and payday lenders.

He said: “It feels like they are preying on people who are up against it when people really want to see a wider spread of shops.”

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