Lewisham's Licensing Committee rejected the application for a betting shop licence at the 'Homeview' video shop on the corner of Brockley Road & Adelaide Avenue at its meeting this evening.
The applicants were clearly shocked by the decision as despite their thorough preparation it was clear that they had expected the new gambling laws to mean that the committee should have nodded the application through.
However, taking on board the concerns of residents in relation to vulnerable people, the committee took the surprise decision to reject the application outright with no scope for there to be any conditions attached that could overcome these concerns.
There will inevitably be an appeal - and certainly the committee will have been made aware of this. However, one of the committee members explained to me the act & guidance refers to 'vulnerable' people without providing any suitable means of identifying who these are. Clearly, as the applicants in appealing will need to address why the committee was wrong to highlight 'vulnerable' people in its decision, there may be scope for this decision to set legal precedents and much needed detail to the Gambling Act.
Of course as this issue progresses through the courts there is always the consideration that the political choices made in 'liberalising' gambling in this country could now be reviewed - in much the same way as super casino for Manchester was shelved right at the start of Gordon Brown's appointment as Prime Minister. Certainly Lewisham Councillors need to think if there is anyway in which they influence this.
Cllr Michel for Ladywell was there representing the views of the Green Party Councillors and supporting local residents all the way. Well done Ute. Well done residents.