An Irish betting chain has won permission to open a betting shop on a busy Herefordshire street that has two bookies already.
BoyleSports’ bid to convert a shop on George Place, Gloucester Road, Ross-on-Wye has been approved by planners – despite several local objections.
The premises, between the Acorns Hospice charity shop and Burger Star fast food restaurant, was a JobCentre Plus until October 2015, since when it has been occupied by temporary shops.
A planning application was required for a change of use, as betting shops are not classed as “retail”.
The company was also given permission to change the exterior of the shop in line with its signage, including a projecting sign, and to install two satellite dishes on the flat roof and two air conditioner units to the rear.
BoyleSports spends over £200,000 on average in fitting out new premises, its application said. “This risk needs to be balanced against the best possible prospects of success, and a high-profile location with high footfall presents this.”
It added: “To conserve the integrity of the conservation area, the proposed adverts and signage do not include any illumination.”
The outlet will create three full-time and three part-time jobs, including a part-time cleaner, it said.
But Ross-on-Wye town council said they “do not consider that the proposals contribute to the vitality and viability of Ross” and would have preferred the premises to be kept as a shop.
Gloucester Road already has a Ladbrokes and a William Hill betting shops.
Among six residents’ objections, Jules Palliser wrote: “The dismal prospect of another? Is the problem of gambling addiction not prevalent enough in our society?”
Susan Spence considered that such outlets “lower the atmosphere in a shopping area”.
Alison Lathan said: “More effort should be made for alternatives, as another place for betting does not help promote Ross-on-Wye.”
And Penny Comley said: “In these days of severe monetary restrictions we should NOT be encouraging people who can ill-afford it to place bets.”
But Herefordshire Council’s planning officer concluded the new proposed use “will ensure further vitality and viability to the town centre”.
The decision granting the change limits its opening hours to between 8am and 10pm.
BoyleSports has over 250 outlets in Ireland, but only entered the UK market in 2019 with the purchase of the Wilf Gilbert chain of betting shops in the West Midlands.