Odds on for a new town centre betting shop

Wednesday 9th February 2022 12:00 pm

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IRELAND’S largest independent bookmaker wants to open a betting shop in Ross-on-Wye town centre’s former Job centre, if planners give the green light.

Boylesports has applied to Herefordshire Council planners to convert the premises at 2, George Place, off Gloucester Road, next to the Burger Star fast food restaurant and Acorns charity shop.

The Job Centre closed in 2015, and it has been used since on a rolling basis by the Ross Pre-School charity.

A report on behalf of the bookmakers said the property in the town’s conservation zone had been "extensively marketed", but a "lack of substantial interest has meant the rent of the unit has gradually dropped", from £33,000 per year in 2014 to £18,000.

"There has been very little interest shown by retailers with 13 viewings since 2014," it says.

"The only offer received by the agent for 2, George Place to date has been from the applicantBoylesports."We consider that the extensive marketing over a substantial period of time at flexible andcompetitive rates and the lack of firm interest from traditional retailers clearly demonstratesthat the premises is unlikely to be used for retailing."

The bookies, which runs 300 betting shops in Ireland and moved into the UK in 2019, said there would be three full-time and three part-time jobs, and 26 temporary construction jobs over the six to eight-week conversion.

The scheme proposes two satellite dishes on the flat roof set back from the main façade, which won’t be visible from street level, and air conditioning condenser units which will be "non-obtrusive".

The planning statement adds: "The ability of betting offices to support the vitality and viability of town centres is well established and evidenced through appeal decisions."

It adds that it won’t impact on the Grade II*-listed Walter Scott Charity School building 60m from the Grade II-listed buildings along Copse Cross Street.

Comments on the application (on the council’s planning portal (220296) are open until March 3.


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