SNP ministers are facing a grassroots rebellion after abandoning plans to hand councils more power to prevent bookmakers flooding deprived high streets with betting shops.

Delegates at the party's conference are set to call on the hierarchy to introduce new laws to hand local authorities influence to prevent so-called "clustering" of bookmakers, with a motion warning that damage caused to communities by gambling outlets should be viewed as a "health and welfare issue."

Nicola Sturgeon's local government minister, Kevin Stewart, faces demands to deliver on calls for reform which he led before his frontbench promotion. As convenor of Holyrood's local government committee, Mr Stewart said less than a year ago that councillors felt 'powerless' to prevent clustering of gambling outlets - meaning several operate within close proximity - and that rules should be changed to hand local authorities more influence.

Concern has also been raised by SNP members over fixed odds betting terminals, machines inside bookmakers shops that have been dubbed the 'the crack cocaine of gambling'.

But despite previously consulting on the possibility of tightening planning laws and calling a summit aimed at addressing the issue of clustering, the Scottish Government ditched its plans to change the law in February last year and has not offered any firm commitment that they will be resurrected.

Monica Lennon, Scottish Labour's inequalities spokeswoman and a chartered town planner, said the Scottish Government had "run out of excuses." She added: "SNP activists have lost patience with ministers and in their frustration are seeking to force the issue at SNP conference this week. Their disappointment is shared by communities and campaigners across Scotland.

"I attended the ministerial summit back in 2014 and the consultation that followed proved there was strong support for tighter planning regulation. But the Scottish Government has failed to turn tough talk on betting shops into action.

"Kevin Stewart called for action as a backbencher. He now has the opportunity to put his principles into practice and not fall into line like his predecessors."

The motion was submitted by three Glasgow branches and the Glasgow Southside Constituency Association, Nicola Sturgeon’s local SNP organisation.

Currently, a loophole means that bookmakers do not need planning permission to open a shop if they take over a premises previously used for 'financial or professional services'. It means businesses can take over buildings such as former banks or estate agents and transform them into betting shops, bypassing councillors.

While powers over regulation of betting is mainly reserved, it has been suggested that Scottish ministers create a planning class category specifically for betting premises, meaning planning permission would have to be sought before any new shops could be opened. Similar rule-changes have already taken place in England.

Speaking in December after his committee finished its enquiry into fixed odds betting terminals, Mr Stewart said he had been "shocked" by the evidence he had heard and strongly backed an overhaul of the rules.

He said: "Local authorities have told us they feel powerless to do anything to restrict the number of bookmakers. Communities must be given the power to control this number. This is why we believe the planning rules have to be changed to give local authorities more control and the ability to address this clustering."

The SNP conference motion, to be debated tomorrow, states that damage done by fixed odds betting machines and gambling shops "should be viewed and treated as a health and welfare issue" and that the issue of clustering should be controlled by "local authorities through their licensing and planning functions." It adds: "Conference looks forward to welcoming the introduction of such legislative changes as may be required to give effect to the foregoing aspirations."

The Scottish Government would only commit to "consider the potential" for changes to legislation as part of a response to a planning review.

A spokeswoman said: "Our Scottish planning policy takes into account concerns over the number and clustering of some non-retail facilities, including betting shops. Local authorities should have policies in place to support an appropriate mix of facilities in town centres and high streets and, where appropriate, to prevent over-provision and clustering.

"As part of work in response to the independent review of planning, Scottish Ministers will consider the potential for changes to legislation to introduce new planning controls for betting offices."