NEWS: Betting shop blocked on Erdington High Street after campaigners get unanimous support from planning committee

Words & pics by Ed King

A new betting shop for Erdington High Street has been blocked after local campaigners “rallied” and recieved unanimous support from the Council’s  planning committee.

At a meeting on Thursday, 28 July, all members present voted against the proposed application to turn the once HSBC bank at 56 Erdington High Street into a ‘a betting office… with associated external alterations.’

There were no votes to support the proposed application.

Originally presented to Birmingham City Council in March this year, BoyleSports UK had been looking for consent to open another gambling outlet on the High Street – which would have seen eight on the Erdington thoroughfare.

Local campaigners officially objected to the plans in the initial planning committee meeting on 7 July, with the officer’s report citing an increase in litter, anti-social behaviour, and crime as the driving factors.

Objections were also noted in relation to the ‘impact on application for Levelling Up funding’ another betting shop may have, as Erdington looks forward to another LUF bid for High Street regeneration being submitted to Government.

Item 11 on the planning committee’s agenda for Thursday, 28 July,  the issue was brought forward after the Chair recognised “members of the public are here in numbers” – as scores of campaigners had been protesting outside before the meeting began.

Speaking as a member of the planning committee, Cllr Jack Deakin (Allens Cross, Lab) voiced his objection to the proposed gambling outlet due to “potential risk to health”.

Cllr Jane Jones (Stockland Green, Lab) was worried “as a local resident” another betting shop could “exacerbate” issues such as street drinking and anti social behaviour on the already High Street hotspot.

Cllr Gareth Moore (Erdington, Con) and Cllr David Barrie (Sutton Warmley & Minworth) respectively called on the committee to “stick to planning reasons” as there “was ample evidence” to deny the application on these grounds.

With a right to appeal still on the table, BoyleSports could potentially sidestep more emotive issues to eventually push the application through.

After the planning committee returned a resounding decision of 11-0 against the application, Rob Gunnell from the group campaigning against the proposed betting shop told Erdington Local:

“I think it’s great, we’re very pleased. I think it’s a reflection of how people in Erdington care about the area – they care so much they’ve come out of their houses today and demonstrated together.

“Particularly since the last meeting, we’ve rallied and got the necessary evidence through the police and the local MP (Paulette Hamilton) to support our case.

“I think it’s a little bit of a triumph for the people of Erdington… it gives a message that people in the area will stick together on any future issues – not just around planning – but any factors that would undermine the regeneration of the area.”

Erdington Ward Councillor, Robert Alden (Con), had voiced his objections in the initial planning meeting held on 7 July. Following the 11-0 verdict again, he added:

“We were seriously concerned about this planning application, and today the committee has listened to residents’ views and the really strong representation that’s been from community groups, from myself as the local councillor, and from the large petition we handed in objecting to this application.

“What we want to see in Erdington is a vibrant High Street and this kind of development is potentially going to being in more anti-social behaviour and more issues that we’re trying tackle.

“We’ve got the Levelling Up Fund bid going in, which is such an important thing for Erdington; we don’t want to see more of these establishments we want to see vibrant businesses that bring in people to the High Street and bring in improvements and regeneration.”

Despite the matter coming to the planning committee in July, local residents have been challenging the proposed development of the old HSBC bank into a betting shop since the initial application went to planning in March.

Whilst canvassing in his local election campaign earlier in the year, standing for Labour in the Erdington Ward, Basharat Dad stared a petition against the proposals on 19 April 2022, gaining 147 signitures supporting the block.

Joining the protesters at the planning committee meeting on Thursday, 28 July, and hearing the committee’s unanimous decision to block the betting shop, he told Erdington Local:

“Really pleased with the decision, the committee have listened to the Erdington community.

“I am proud, I was able to lead on a petition and it was a pleasure to work with residents, community organisations and businesses to object to this application and get the right result.

“Looking forward to in working together for the betterment of our High Street and Erdington as a whole.”

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