December 23 2014 Latest news:
Monday, February 3, 2014
Planning chiefs have been praised for listening to the people after refusing a scheme that would have seen Great Yarmouth become home to a third betting shop in the space of 200 yards.
Officers at Great Yarmouth Borough Council threw out the application from William Hill to establish a bookmakers at 19 Market Place, just yards from Ladbrokes and BetFred, saying it would “compromise rather than improve the vitality and viability” of the town’s retail offering.
Their decision has been welcomed by neighbouring businesses who objected strongly to the plan, which would have forced the YMCA shop out of the premises.
Martin McCormack, practice director of Specsavers located next door to the proposed site, hailed officers’ decision.
“It’s very good that the council actually listens to what they (the people) want as opposed to just big, corporate businesses,” he added.
“I’m very happy as a local business owner and my colleagues and people who work here are very happy as local people, that the council has seen sense.
“Yarmouth needs a lot of things, another bookmakers isn’t one of them.”
In their refusal, officers said there were seven other betting shops within a five minute walk of the proposed site, meaning shopping diversity “would not be enhanced”, which they branded “unacceptable”.
They added the potential for having three bookmakers within 100m of each other may also have a “negative effect” within the Market Place and would not be encouraging choice and competition.
Mr McCormack said if William Hill re-applied to open the branch he would re-object.
The bookmakers chain, which already has a site in Regent Road, lodged an appeal against the borough council’s decision this week.
A spokesman said the firm had done a lot of research before submitting its bid and felt there was “demand” for another betting shop. They also said the new shop would provide five full time and one part time job.
Fran Edwards, manager of the YMCA, said since the planning application had been submitted, the charity had looked to relocate and the shop was set to move to premises elsewhere in the town.
■ What do you think to the council’s decision? Email EDPLetters@archant.co.uk with full contact details.