Controversial proposals to open a bookmakers on the former premises of an historic Deptford pub were approved by Lewisham Council today.
The new Paddy Power bookmakers will replace the John Evelyn pub on Evelyn Street, which was sold to the gambling chain last year.
The new betting shop will be the fourth on Evelyn Street and the tenth in Deptford.
Doug Elsley, the former landlord of the John Evelyn, opposed the proposals at a council meeting, saying that the opening of another bookmakers would lead to an increase in crime for the area.
Mr Elsley, whose attempt to keep the John Evelyn afloat was featured in the 2007 BBC documentary The Tower, appeared distraught at the decision, insisting that it would ‘ruin the area.’
The former landlord suggested that patrons of the current bookmakers on Evelyn Street caused a public nuisance by drinking outside the betting shops and urinating in the streets, ‘often in front of mothers and children.’
The Evelyn Triangle Traders’ Association, who represent businesses in the community, objected to the plans, telling the council in a statement:
“The loss of revenue to the local traders is already noticeable and if this downward trend was to continue it could result in other businesses having to close – further eroding the very strong sense of community that has been built up.”
Ahead of the council meeting, the committee recieved over 50 letters of objection from people in the area. In one of these, local resident Richard Katona stated: “The opening of yet another such outlet in this communal ‘urban village’ space will create an unplanned casino culture, thoughtlessly imported into an already socially deprived area.”
A spokesman for Paddy Power said that the new shop would provide jobs for local people, stimulate trade for local businesses – and that integrating with the local community would be ‘mutually beneficial.’
He also stressed the company’s exemplary safety record, saying that every Paddy Power bookmakers features CCTV and has a zero tolerance policy towards criminal activity.
Lewisham Council said they had no choice but to accept the proposals, as all criteria for the application had been met.
Additional reporting by Heather Bishop.