A PROMINENT West Croydon takeaway has denied drumsticks are in decline, insisting this week: "Chicken Cottage is as popular as ever."
The assurance came as it emerged bookmaker Paddy Power was poised to take over the fast food joint's London Road branch.
A spokesman for the chicken chain said: "Our franchiser found the overheads in the London Road premises were quite high, so he has decided to look for a location elsewhere.
"Chicken Cottage is still as popular as ever, proven by our new shop in London Road, Norbury."
News of the betting shop's gambling licence application angered local Labour leader Tony Newman, who has long spoken out about the perils of readily available gambling.
"This is yet another example of how takeaways and betting shops are taking over our local districts," he said.
"We are in danger of that area, as well as other high streets in Croydon, becoming one long line of betting shops and takeaways. This is why we have got to see some of the investment from Hammersmith and Westfield going into the Croydon districts as well as the centre of the borough.
"I'm sure the council will say there is nothing they can do about it but there is. They can take a proactive stance. We have to make Croydon's streets family-friendly, and chicken shops and betting shops won't do that."
Mohammed Siddiqi, a worker at Amabala Sweet Shop, in London Road, was also not keen on plans for a bookmakers.
"We have had a lot of trouble from people that go to betting shops around here so I don't think this is a good idea at all," he said.
"We've had a lot of problems with people fighting outside the betting shops in the past and there are just too many of them around here. There are also too many takeaway restaurants and it would be nice to have a bit of diversity in the area. We have had very bad experiences with betting shops, so this news is not pleasing."
But Bharat Shah, who co-owns Jays Electrical Wholesales, in London Road, said: "In my opinion as long as it is done well and has a nice interior and is looked after it shouldn't be a problem.
"I don't personally think we have enough of those sorts of shops down our end of the road, and Paddy Power is a respectable company so it should be fine.
"As the store is about 200 yards away from mine I'm hoping that if there is any trouble it won't affect my business. As long as they are good and responsible it should be fine."
Paddy Power was not available for comment.