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Fourth betting shop will open in Diss despite objections

PUBLISHED: 20:11 12 September 2012

The YMCA shop in Mere Street, Diss which will be turned into a bookmakers.

The YMCA shop in Mere Street, Diss which will be turned into a bookmakers.

Archant

A new betting shop will open in Diss, the fourth in the town, despite fears the town is losing too many retail premises and the decision would damage the vitality of the town centre.

South Norfolk Council’s development management committee approved William Hill’s plans to open the bookmakers in the unit currently occupied by the YMCA charity shop, in Mere Street, Diss but the plans received 12 objection letters from residents and were rejected by the town council.

Town clerk Deborah Sarson told yesterday’s meeting there was a perception Diss town centre was becoming dominated by card shops and banks and added 25 of the units fell under A1 classification, covering shops, retail warehouses and hairdressers while 11, or nearly half, were of A2 use as banks, estate agencies and betting shops.

She was also concerned an appeal won by Coral bookmakers for a betting office in Wymondham was being used by planning officers to justify their recommendation to approve the plans, as on that occasion the bookmakers was the only one in Wymondham.

Fears were also raised the bookmakers could lead to an increase in anti-social behaviour, but planning officer Helen Bowman said there had not been an increase with other betting shops.

The Wymondham plans also related to the change of use of a premises next to an existing betting shop, whereas William Hill’s proposed premises was already occupied.

However, councillor Christopher Kemp, who represents Cringleford, warned the committee members they should not judge the application on moral grounds, but the council had a duty to promote customer choice and to judge plans based on the laws of the land.

Following the meeting, Ms Sarson said: “We are disappointed with the decision, but the decision for the committee had to be made on planning grounds and not on any other considerations.

“The town council did its best to argue the plans should be refused on planning grounds, but on this occasion it was not successful.”

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