LGA: 'Unsavoury' shops hit recovery
Strip clubs, bookies and kebab shops are blighting economic recovery on British high streets, council chiefs have warned.
They said such outlets clustered together which prey on customers' vices are hitting efforts to bring in shoppers and rejuvenate struggling town centres - and called for more bookshops, restaurants and butchers to set up stores instead.
Research from the Local Government Association (LGA), which represents town halls, also demanded greater powers from Whitehall to tackle the problem they say is stifling trade.
The LGA's environment board vice-chairman Clyde Loakes said: "The general public are less likely to shop on high streets with clustering, while businesses may be less willing to set up on roads with clusters of unsavoury takeaways and raunchy sex shows.
"Town halls and local people are calling on the Government to reform the tools available to councils to make local planning decisions that can prevent unwelcome clustering hitting economic growth."
The LGA's study found 76% of council officers who answered its survey blamed strip clubs for cutting the vibrancy of British high streets, while 69% also accused betting shops. And 45% believed groupings of fast food takeaways hit economic growth.
A previous LGA opinion poll showed more than a third of the public claimed clustering deterred them from their local high street, cutting footfall and sales. The body said three-quarters of people wanted councils to have powers to block bookies taking over premises, claiming current rules are "unwieldy and bureaucratic".
A Department for Communities and Local Government spokesman said: "Councils have a range of powers to license and control strip clubs, following changes to the law in 2010.
"We are currently reviewing how 'change of use' is handled in the planning system. This includes examining the issues surrounding the proliferation of betting shops in some local areas, which is a result of changes to gambling law made by the last administration."