Council odds favour gambling
SIR – I read your articles on the Gambling D-day clash and the chips are down; it is obvious that fixing a date suitable to everyone is not feasible, but it is significant that Hertsmere Council were willing to accommodate the two persons wanting to estab
SIR - I read your articles on the Gambling D-day clash and the chips are down; it is obvious that fixing a date suitable to everyone is not feasible, but it is significant that Hertsmere Council were willing to accommodate the two persons wanting to establish a gambling arcade in Potters Bar, whereas the hundreds opposed were ignored.
James Clappison, the area's MP, and Councillor John Donne, who represents the ward, emphasised the numerous objections they received from residents who strongly objected to the introduction of a gambling arcade in Darkes Lane.
The council's own notes indicate 500 letters on the subject had been received - it is certain that none of them supported the proposal.
Mr Clappison emphasised that while he was completely opposed to the idea, if it was approved by the council, it should close at 6pm.
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All those who spoke were firmly against the idea; one lady told the meeting of her husband's addiction to gambling for 40 years; another courageously related how her teenage son's addiction led him to stealing money from her purse, her husband and the boy's brother, and her anguish in being forced to report it to the police.
Another lady related her 20 years' experience counselling prisoners suffering from this addiction.
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The council's licensing officer reported that he had attended the proposed site in the afternoon and counted 126 school children passing the shop.
Later, when questioned, it was revealed this figure neither covered those walking on the opposite pavement nor sixth-formers not in uniform (the most vulnerable, who number about a hundred).
Any person of reasonable intelligence knows gambling brings a host of serious social problems.
It is thus unbelievable that Councillors Colne, David and Gamble approved the application.
Why did they fail to act in the interests of the community? Why did they permit Sunday opening? The chairman's remark "we feel the police can deal with any problem" confirms even she realises gambling inevitably leads to crime.
It is very much hoped that Mr Clappison will take up this blatant travesty of justice with the council's chairman and, if necessary, with the government.
A Bowen, Hawkshead Road, Little Heath, Potters Bar.