Apr 27 2011 By Jack Griffith
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BUSINESSES and residents in Hayes Town have rallied in a last-ditch attempt to prevent another bookies from opening up in the centre.
Around 460 people have signed a petition calling on the council to refuse a gambling licence for another William Hill branch in Coldharbour Lane, Hayes.
William Hill gained planning permission for their second betting shop in the town in February - the other being located just 300 metres away on Station Road - despite another petition with hundreds of detractors being submitted.
This is the final step before refurbishment work can start, and the decision will be made at a licensing meeting on Wednesday, April 27. Both campaigns were organised by Khalsa Singh, a Hayes resident of over 15 years, who said that the problem has reached saturation point.
"I am doing this for the benefit of the whole community," he said. "Over the years, more and more of these shops have been springing up, and now we have six operating within a quarter-mile stretch. These types of establishments take advantage of vulnerable people in our area. Hayes is a deprived area, and places like this harm the community.
"Gambling debts lead to a downward spiral. People lose their homes, their family lives, and it often leads to crime and violence as a last resort. These shops are taking the place of small local businesses that are important for any community."
Licensing objectives, as set out by the Gambling Act 2005, include preventing any bookies 'from being a source of crime and disorder', and 'protecting...vulnerable persons from being harmed or exploited'.
Parishioners at the Hayes Methodist Church, the Hayes Elim Christian Centre, and the Immaculate Heart of Mary in Botwell Lane, as well as hundreds of residents living in surrounding roads, have all joined the 'public coalition' against the new shop.
Should a license be granted, the shop would be open from 7am to 10pm every day.
FOR THE RESULT, GO TO http://hayes.uxbridgegazette.co.uk/