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Hostile reception for bookmakers

PUBLISHED: 09:00 07 August 2009 | UPDATED: 08:24 01 August 2010

MORE than 200 names have been collected on petitions opposed to the opening of a betting shop in the centre of Beccles.

Lowestoft business Premier Racing Services wants to open a bookmakers at the old Morlings site in New Market which has stood empty since the end of 2007.

MORE than 200 names have been collected on petitions opposed to the opening of a betting shop in the centre of Beccles.

Lowestoft business Premier Racing Services wants to open a bookmakers at the old Morlings site in New Market which has stood empty since the end of 2007.

Although it has not yet submitted a formal planning application to the town or Waveney councils, the fact that Premier Racing Services has been granted a gaming licence has been met with hostility by nearly 230 people who have signed petitions in Saxon and Breeze in New Market.

The bookmakers would be the second in the town, joining the current Coral shop which is also in New Market.

Christine Pinsent, chairman of the Beccles Business Association and owner of Saxon, said: “This prime position does not lend itself to such an establishment right in the centre of a historic and attractive market town. It's an awful eyesore on one of our prime sites. Do we want blacked out windows and people standing around smoking in the street? Do we need another betting shop? We shouldn't be encouraging gambling.”

Meanwhile Liud Bindas, who owns Breeze, said she thought it would be better to have a cultural attraction at the site. “It should not be a gambling shop, especially in this economic crisis,” she added. “I think that it's not a good example for young people. People like to come here and don't want to come into the centre of town and see that.”

Premier Racing Services opened a new branch in Oulton Broad on Monday, and have also gained a gaming licence for a shop in Halesworth.

Owner Martyn Spore stressed that they would not be interfering with the building, which is listed, and suggested that it would be better to have an occupied shop in a prominent position rather than an empty one.

He added: “Historically there's always been two betting shops in Beccles. We're a local, Lowestoft business and we've just opened our second shop in Oulton Broad, so if people are concerned about the type of shop they should go and see our shop in Oulton Broad. I think they would be pleasantly surprised.

“We'd just be creating another facility for the people in Beccles who enjoy that sort of entertainment.”

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