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New betting shop regulations 'unlikely' to stop Paddy Power opening in Exeter city centre

By Exeter Express and Echo  |  Posted: April 29, 2014

PADDYPOWER

Paddy Power has applied for planning permission for satelite dishes and signage as it seeks to move into 72 High Street

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NEW regulations to control the spread of betting shops is unlikely to stop Paddy Power opening up in Exeter city centre, planning bosses have warned.

Paddy Power has applied for planning permission for satelite dishes and signage as it seeks to move into 72 High Street, which was previously occupied by Santander.

It does not need planning permission for a change of use as betting shops currently fall under the same class as banks and building societies.

Exeter is one of 63 local authorities demanding the Government changes the planning law to stop the spread of betting shops.

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David Cameron is expected to announce this week that the Government is to hand local councils the power to veto the opening of new betting shops.

He is expected to detail the creation of a new planning class for betting shops, allowing councils to vet their applications more stringently than for other retailers.

It is designed to limit increasing concern about the effects of electronic gaming machines housed within the majority of betting shops, which critics refer to as “crack cocaine” gambling machines because of their addictive nature.

Assistant director for city development at Exeter City Council Richard Short said that if the new regulations come through in time it may still not be enough to stop the plans.

He said: “I think there is an announcement due Wednesday and they will need to enact a change in the use class regulations.

“That might take some time and depend on parliamentary legislative programme. If Paddy Power is in occupation by the implementation date they will not need consent.

“Even if Paddy Power are not in occupation by the time enacted and they need to obtain approval of change of use, they would be likely to get it as consistent with our policies on vitality and viability of retail areas.”

The betting industry, including Paddy Power are expected to resist the changes and could call for a full-scale competition inquiry.

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