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Betting Shop..

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Joined 09-04-2005
Posted on Sunday, 27 November, 2005 - 08:56 pm:   

I am really disappointed to see a betting shop is to open next to the post office. Is this really what Forest Hill needs right now, at a time when a regenerated and more attractive town centre could attract USEFUL businesses to the area?
I'm hoping a representative of the council can explain why they granted a licence to Paddy Power.
Joined 17-11-2005
Posted on Sunday, 27 November, 2005 - 11:15 pm:   

hear hear
Joined 09-04-2005
Posted on Sunday, 27 November, 2005 - 11:37 pm:   

Also we already have a betting shop in FH don't we?
I'm sure no one wants to see a road of derelict shops but is another betting shop the best solution?

Dismayed and Confused of Forest Hill.
Joined 18-04-2005
Posted on Monday, 28 November, 2005 - 08:26 am:   

Yes I agree
Betting shops , like the lottery , are a great way of making poor people even poorer.
Joined 30-03-2005
Posted on Monday, 28 November, 2005 - 09:31 pm:   

Can anyone confirm that they have 4 places taking bets and only 1 place paying out?!
Joined 07-12-2003
Posted on Tuesday, 29 November, 2005 - 09:07 am:   

There is a lot of misunderstanding about the scope of the Council's powers in planning matters which are much more limited than people realise. There is a presumption that consent will be given unless there are valid planning reasons to refuse - and it has to be planning reasons, not some other kind of reason.

I should also clarify that the Council as such doesn't grant planning permissions. This role is delegated to either officers (for non-controversial decisions) or member committees. Officers and these committees operate under semi-judicial rules, and can only reject an application on appropriate planning grounds. It is also worth stating that the party political structures have no part in planning committees. Members are required to deal with cases on their merits and with an open mind.

Cllr Susan Wise and I and the Town Centre Manager made representations to the relevant planning committee. (Mine were somewhat along the lines of Seeformiles, namely that there existed a Forest Hill Strategy, and this use did not seem to me to support it.) However, the committee was unable to find any valid planning grounds to reject the application, and therefore with considerable reluctance had to agree it. Had they rejected it without valid planning reasons (as opposed to a belief that this application is highly undesirable for all sorts of reasons, which does not amount to a planning reason), the applicant would have appealed and would certainly have won the appeal.

To make it absolutely clear, Susan and I would have been far happier to have seen some other use such as retail, or a cafe or restaurant, and it is regrettable that such a key site has gone to this use.

As to whether planning law should be changed to enable committees to give more weight to local feeling and more general social issues, that is another question.
Joined 17-03-2005
Posted on Tuesday, 29 November, 2005 - 01:19 pm:   

The other way of legitimately and accountably controlling or limiting undesirable uses is through a formally adopted planning brief. This has more teeth than a strategy. Given the plans , or more accurately, wishes for full scale regeneration in the area I would like to know why this has not been raised as a possibility. In practice, anything not in accordance with the brief can be refused. Having said, this, unless a change of planning use class was required, then the council could not have rejected the licence for this reason alone.

I'm putting the following into CAPITALS for a reason;

THERES A FOREST HILL STEERING GROUP MEETING ON 15TH DECEMBER- PLEASE ATTEND IF POSSIBLE. Cllr Whiting perhaps will confirm the venue, time, and post an agenda on this website?

Joined 04-03-2005
Posted on Tuesday, 29 November, 2005 - 03:08 pm:   

Were there any other offers put in for the site besides the betting shop? Was it a case that the betting shop was the only business interested?

Maybe Forest Hill should consider making it more attractive for more desirable businesses to enter the area. An independant coffee shop or a resturant may have more set-up costs and would take more time to make money, compared to a betting shop. So the conditions for taking over the shop besides the Post Office were difficult. Just a guess.
Joined 18-04-2005
Posted on Tuesday, 29 November, 2005 - 05:22 pm:   

Hi Elizabeth
We have 4 coffee shops now
Provender , Organic Republic , Karavan and Hornimans. Not sure a 5th would pay.
Could the owner of The Organic Republic please display opening times on the door. This would be a great help.
Joined 16-07-2004
Posted on Tuesday, 29 November, 2005 - 06:12 pm:   

of course a 5th would pay - the first 3 you mention have pretty limited seating as far as I can see and the Horniman cafe is a bit more of a canteen than a cafe - fantastic for a coffee outside on a sunny spring/summer day but not exactly cosy in the winter!
Joined 07-12-2003
Posted on Tuesday, 29 November, 2005 - 10:57 pm:   

I'll post the agenda for the Forest Hill Steering Group tomorrow. However, the date is the 8th December. The date of the 15th relates to an error in an internal labour party document.

Place is Holy Trinity Church Hall.
Joined 19-05-2004
Posted on Wednesday, 30 November, 2005 - 12:11 pm:   

Another bookies/kebab shop/ charity shop/pound shop? Market forces my dear readers. Would you prefer these places empty and derelict? The big supermarkets have sucked the life out of the small independents – not helped by us consumers who dream about the new Sainsbury’s when they are not fantasising about the Glades or Bluewater. And they are already involved in gambling, albeit that most sea the lottery as the acceptable side of this (and the peddle drugs – cancer sticks). It would be great to have pavement cafes, street entertainers, arty shops etc but it ain’t going to happen. Well not this side of Clapham. And as for my provocative comments on the local shopping facilities – they were merely that, ie an attempt to stir up some decent debate! My ‘right side of the tracks’ Moor Park Tavern debate was rumbled by some of the more discerning posters as being self deprecating, as it was intended to be. Unfortunately we lost most of those readers during the great purge. Mind you a good place to have a pavement café, opposite the cemetery (and surely better than the attempts on Forest Hill Road)
Joined 23-02-2005
Posted on Wednesday, 30 November, 2005 - 02:24 pm:   

There is an alternative viewpoint. As somebody who likes a saturday flutter, William Hill seem to have a stranglehold on the area. Paddy Power will provide a choice, a bit of competition. I don't see what the fuss is about given some of the grotty shops around here. All seems a bit nose in the air to me.
Joined 28-03-2005
Posted on Wednesday, 30 November, 2005 - 06:24 pm:   

An unimaginative use of a prime position. Following the threads of the Forum over the past 2-3 years, Forest Hill really does seem to be divided between those with higher aspirations than the present situation and those who are happy with the decaying edifice. Yes it would have been nice to see a cafe there, especially with the potential for outside seating, given the space. I gave up using the Horniman cafe after having to suffer the indifferent parenting skills of two professional mums who ignored Toby, Jocasta and Jack as the hurled china cups across the limestone floor, whose joyful shrieks were very effectively amplified by the splendid barrel vaulted roof. The other cafes are just one or two tables squeezed into draughty corners of shops. I must admit that although local to FH, I now choose to shop on Lordship Lane and Northcross Road and ponder on what Forest Hill could be but let's be honest, never will be.
Joined 09-04-2005
Posted on Wednesday, 30 November, 2005 - 08:32 pm:   

It's possible not to be stuck up AND still object to another betting shop!
We all want the best for our area and I don't believe Sainsburys sucks the life out of every possible business venture. There's room for a couple more decent cafes or bars.
Back in the days when a new improved Sainsburys was a distant promise Forest Hill wasn't exactly buzzing with life.
Since the site's been developed I've noticed a few new shops springing up including an unpholsterers, party supplies shop, a Spa, and a noodle bar...if anything Sainsburys is more likely to help regenerate the area.
Joined 09-04-2005
Posted on Wednesday, 30 November, 2005 - 08:36 pm:   

TheotheBrian, I've experienced similar at the Horniman cafe on many occasions and have decided not to go back without a crash helmet and waterproofs. Yes I agree it would be nice to have some more variety in the area, nothing wrong with that. I'm not sure Karavan's cafe is still open btw.
Joined 09-04-2005
Posted on Wednesday, 30 November, 2005 - 08:41 pm:   

Oh and one more thing, thank you Councillor Whiting for clarifying the planning issue.
Joined 29-03-2005
Posted on Wednesday, 30 November, 2005 - 09:12 pm:   

There used to be a Ladbroke outlet behind the station on Perry Vale if memory serves. The previous Mecca shop (later taken over by Hills) on Dartmouth Road is only now, after YEARS of neglect, being refurbed for some use or other. In my humble opinion, we need more of everything to give people choice.
Joined 07-12-2003
Posted on Wednesday, 30 November, 2005 - 09:57 pm:   


Forest Hill will never be like Clapham because it isn't Clapham, it's Forest Hill. In the old days, there was a standard pattern for the local high street involving a butcher, a baker, a grocer, a Frosts, a Greggs, a Dewhurst (remember these high street chains which are no more, or transformed?). Nowadays, high streets tend to be different one from another, unlike malls. I went through a period of visiting high streets across London to find what made some still work while some failed, and in the end felt that success was a subtle process of auspicious circumstances coming together and creating a momentum.

While Forest Hill will never be anything but Forest Hill, some elements are now coming together which could make it a very attractive place to be. These include the new Sainsburys, the Horniman, the East London Line, improving local schools, and the commitment to the longterm future of the baths. Greater certainty about the future is encouraging retail and commercial development in the centre. Further, almost all the flats over shops in Forest Hill are now in use, so more people actually live in the centre.

Clearly there are still a lot of things to be put right, but maybe we can start being a little optimistic about the future of this place.
Joined 19-05-2004
Posted on Wednesday, 30 November, 2005 - 11:02 pm:   

Councillor - my point is that this web site seems to be obsessed with Sainsbury's and shocked that someone dares to open a bookies. But we can all dream about the perfect shopping experience but unless we are prepared to put our money where our mouth is and open a pretty things shop and take the risk that there is a market out there for Albanian waistcoats it aint going to happen. And one reason is with a major carriageway going through Forest Hill it just isn't going to lend itself to this sort of development. I live in Forest Hill (almost 9 years now), chosing to move here after living in Sydenham for several years before that (none of this nonsense about moving out to Bromley. Have a look on other threads including the 'What's good in SE23' for loads of optimism. And me and others trying to debunk the myth that the area is full of muggers. It isn't. Just trying to provoke some more interesting debate. And please don't lecture me!

Went to the wool shop in Sydenham last week. How wonderful I thought, a twee old shop. This was the first time I used it in 17 years and it will probably be shut after Christmas, as with the traditional watch menders the Italian Deli and the home made ice cream shop. (and where is one of these when you need one) We'd all rather do our big shop and/or buy on line. Well if the Dulwich ripple extends from Lordship Lane up London Road we will be getting some great bars and restaurants to replace the unwanted retail space.

Now I am starting to bore myself. Hopefully someone will start a more inspiring conversation. PS when you are not developing FH centre can you please do something about the fast traffic on Honor Oak Road and the selfish drivers who park on the pavements and double yellows by the school. Now some stocks and a ducking village pond would not go amiss for ritual humiliation of the so and so s. That would improve the area
Joined 09-04-2005
Posted on Wednesday, 30 November, 2005 - 11:24 pm:   

I wouldn't say I was "shocked" at seeing a new betting shop. A bit disappointed maybe.
There is so much futile point-scoring on this forum that I'm wondering if it's worth contributing. I don't expect everyone to be in agreement with me - but objecting to another bookies doesn't make me, or anyone else one of the outraged home counties blue-rinse brigade.
Ultimately it's the arrival of the tube that will have the biggest impact on the area.

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