July 23 2014 Latest news:
Friday, July 11, 2014
A bookmakers has won its appeal to open another store in Great Yarmouth despite concerns the town is already saturated with betting shops.
While Great Yarmouth Borough Council turned down William Hill’s planning application on the grounds it could have a negative effect on the vitality and viability of the shopping centre, the Bristol-based Planning Inspectorate has now ruled that a ninth betting shop in the town centre would not harm the area.
William Hill now has permission for a change of use at 19 Market Place, currently a YMCA charity shop.
If the shop is granted a licence, there will be three bookmakers in a space of 200 yards - with Ladbrokes already trading at 4 Market Place and Betfred at 14 Market Place. There are a further five betting shops in nearby Regent Road and King Street.
Martin McCormack, practice director of Specsavers in the Market Place, said: “We fear another betting office in Great Yarmouth is a serious threat to the integrity of the area which already has a number of betting shops.
“A number of units along Market Place are empty and there is not enough trade or customers to support the businesses which are still in the town.
“We need more things for our young people and shoppers to do and a betting shop is not a good example, especially as we could now have nine which are all within a ten minute walk of each other.”
His sentiments were echoed by the borough council.
A spokesman for the authority, which turned down William Hill’s change of use application back in January, said: “The borough council considered that the change of use of the premises to a betting shop would harm the vitality of the primary retail area and subsequently would be contrary to planning policy.
“In addition it was stated in our reasons for refusal that the town centre had a sufficient number of betting shops on the whole and within the immediate locality.
“The borough council is of the opinion that having a number of betting shops within such close proximity, in an area that has a notable lack of footfall and pedestrian activity, might in fact have a negative effect upon the vitality and viability of the shopping frontage along this length of the historic Market Place and therefore likely to be counter intuitive to encouraging choice and competition within the town centre as a whole.”
In his report, planning inspector Nick Moys noted the number of betting shops in the town but added that “in my experience and as the appellant’s
submissions suggest, betting shops can attract high levels of custom and a similar if not greater footfall to A1 retail uses”.
“I accept that the proposal would not add to the diversity of uses in the town centre given that there are already a number of betting shops in the vicinity, including one operated by the appellant. Nevertheless, betting shops are part of the normal range of services found within town centres, and the provision of an additional A2 use would have only a small effect on the overall balance.”
A spokesman for William Hill, which runs a shop in King Street, said the second shop would create five new jobs.