April 23 2014 Latest news:
By Lauren Rogers
Thursday, December 19, 2013
Opening “yet another” betting shop in Great Yarmouth will do more harm than good, it has been claimed.
The YMCA shop at 19 Market Place will be forced to move out if William Hill gets a green light to open a second shop in town.
And with Ladbrokes at 4 Market Place and BetFred at 15 Market Place, it would also mean three bookmakers within 200 yards of each other.
Voicing concern over the plans, neighbouring businesses said three bookies in such close quarters could put other businesses off and cause damage Yarmouth’s reputation.
Martin McCormack, practice director of Specsavers, located next door, has objected to the scheme.
In his letter to Great Yarmouth Borough Council he said: “I find it incomprehensible if not ironic that with all the vacant premises in Great Yarmouth town centre, this application will mean the closure of the much needed YMCA charity shop.
“This is a charity which specialises in helping to get people back on their feet.”
Mr McCormack also said that allowing “yet another” betting shop to open in the town centre would not improve Yarmouth’s reputation as a place where poverty is rife.
“I don’t think it’s right for the high street when we’re trying to bring people into the area,” he said. “If there are only pubs and betting shops, big brands will not want to move here. We will never get anyone to move in to the old Co-op building if it carries on.”
Ben Melhado, owner of Junx clothing store in Market Place, suggested there was a wider problem at play.
“The fact the business rates are so high means it’s only these types of businesses that can come into town,” he said.
“There’s no incentive for local traders.”
If approved, William Hill will have two shops in town. The existing store at 3 Regent Road is only a few minutes walk from Market Place.
The YMCA declined to comment on the William Hill plans, but it is believed the charity shop would relocate rather than shut up shop.
Meanwhile, a spokesman for William Hill said research showed there was a demand for the bookmakers’ expansion.
“We can confirm that we have applied for change of use from A1 [retail] to A2 [financial or professional],” he said. “We will be making a betting shop licence application if, and when, planning permission is granted.
“Opening a new premise is not a decision we take lightly, with the average shop refit coming in at £175,000.
“We have undertaken a significant amount of market research and competitor analysis and believe there is room for a second William Hill shop in the Great Yarmouth borough.
“A shop this size will create an average of six new jobs in the area, of which at least three will be full time.”
Comments for the change of use plan must be with Great Yarmouth Borough Council by Monday, December 23.