Sefton Council agrees to seek greater control over Payday Loan and Betting Shops

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Sefton Council agrees to seek greater control over Payday Loan and Betting Shops

Following a decision at last Thurday’s Council Meeting, Sefton Council could shortly see measures introduced to limit the spread of payday loan shops and betting shops – thanks to a proposal from Lib Dem councillors.

The move follows concerns at the proliferation of such premises on the high street, which in the case of betting shops include high stakes, fixed odds betting terminals.

At last Thursday’s meeting held at Southport Town Hall, Birkdale Councillor Simon Shaw proposed that the Council should consider introducing a so-called ‘Planning Article 4 Direction’ as a means of regulating the spread of such shops.  The Lib Dem proposal received unanimous backing from all parties on the Council.

“Currently planning law allows existing high street uses such as restaurants, pubs, takeaways and suchlike to change to ‘financial services’ offices without needing to gain planning permission,” explained Cllr Shaw.

“The problem is that betting shops, pawnbrokers and payday loan shops all fall within the ‘financial services’ offices category, what is called Use Class A2.”

“In London, last October, Southwark Council decided to introduce an ‘Article 4 Direction’ which meant that specific planning permission is now needed before such conversion can take place.”

Following agreement to the Lib Dem proposal, the Council’s Planning Officers will now report back on the case for introducing the same measure in Sefton Council.

“It needs to be said that an ‘Article 4 Direction’ doesn’t control such premises completely.  For example, converting an estate agents’ office into a betting shop would still be allowed without specific planning permission, as they both fall within Use Class A2.  However we are hopeful that this measure will go some way to help reduce the spread of such premises,” added Cllr Shaw.

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