[from Hornsey & Couch End Journal]
MP joins fight to stop firm’s bid to triple gambling quota
03 December 2008
CAMPAIGNERS fighting a gambling centre’s bid to triple its quota of gambling machines offering a £500 jackpot have been joined by a legion of councillors and Tottenham MP David Lammy.
The adult gaming centre, in Grand Parade, Green Lanes, Harringay, was at the centre of protests over its arrival, boosting the number of gambling locations there beyond what many thought was acceptable.
The latest application by leisure firm Agora attempts to divide the premises in three, getting round the legal maximum of four fixed odds betting terminals per premises and allowing it 12, if it gets permission.
The touch-screen betting terminals look like pub quiz machines and offer payouts of up to £500 with a £1 bet.
Mr Lammy, who objected to the original application for the centre, blasted the firm for its use of legal “sleight of hand”.
He said: “I was shocked to hear that far from listening to local concerns, the applicants have decided to expand this arcade through a licensing sleight of hand. It is clear to anyone looking at this premises that this is one building and should not have three licences.
“I know how angry the community is about this situation, and I will continue to oppose this application and any new expansion of gambling or gaming premises on Green Lanes.”
His objection is echoed by four ward councillors, including Haringey’s crime chief Councillor Nilgun Canver and environment boss Councillor Brian Haley.
A petition from both residents and traders with 462 signatures is being submitted to Haringey Council this week.
Names were gathered by the Ladder Community Safety Partnership (LCSP), Harringay Online community website, Garden Residents’ Association and the Green Lanes Traders’ Association.
They were buoyed last week with news that Islington Council rejected a similar application from Agora, its licensing committee calling it “a transparent attempt to get round the rules”.
Ian Sygrave, chairman of LSCP, said: “This is a helpful precedent for local residents. Feeling [here] is unanimous – everybody is outraged. The feeling is that it is an attempt to find a loophole in the law.”
Agora declined to comment.
The application will be heard in the New Year.