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Page last updated at 08:28 GMT, Saturday, 14 April 2012 09:28 UK

Is 'clustering' killing the High Street?


A survey of local council officers suggests the prevalence of strip clubs and betting outlets on some high streets may be hurting the local economy.

The Local Government Association (LGA), which represents councils in England and Wales, wants new powers to prevent the clustering of certain types of premises.

Tony Newman of the LGA said shoppers were deterred by a high concentration of betting shops. "No-one's against betting shops," he told Today presenter Justin Webb.

"But it is about clusters of betting shops and the perception they're taking over some high streets and it's crowding out other shopping opportunities and it's also I think a key part in continuing to drive people away from local high streets and what we want to see is families coming back to high streets and making them attractive places for everybody to shop."

The survey's findings have has been questioned by the Association of British Bookmakers (ABB), which said betting shops created jobs and contributed to the vibrancy of high streets.

The chief executive of the ABB, Dirk Vennix, said betting shops actually brought people into high streets.

"We're a heavily regulated and taxed retail leisure sector and we're contributing £3bn to the UK economy and paying nearly £1bn in taxes," he explained.

"But above all don't forget that independent government inspectors have repeatedly told councils that we add to the vibrancy and vitality of high streets by generating footfall into town centres. Because don't forget we've got eight million customers and we generate more footfall than the average retail outlet apart from pharmacies and post offices."


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