Hedge your bets on new Ladbrokes plan for Wisbech

The Horsefair Shopping Centre.

The Horsefair Shopping Centre. - Credit: Archant

NATIONAL betting chain Ladbrokes is hoping to open a shop in Wisbech town centre creating seven jobs for local people.

The betting store wants to take over an empty unit in the Horsefair and spend £200,000 on renovation works to provide what they say will be a “valued leisure activity.”

Fenland planners have been asked to consider an application from Ladbrokes who believe that bringing the shop back into active use will add to the “vitality and viability” of the town centre.

Plans involve taking over the former Aura Jewellery store on the corner of Horsefair which has stood empty for 18 months.

Haris Kasuji, of RR Planning, agents for Ladbrokes, said that betting offices attracted high visitor rates compared to customers of a shop of a similar size.

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He added that at least 70% of then would go on to make other purchases in the local area creating spin-off trade for the whole town.

However, to get the go ahead for the scheme, the betting chain will need to convince Fenland planners to grant change of use from a retail store, known as Class A1 use to A2 use, the planning category for financial organisations such as banks, estate agents and betting shops.

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Under national guidelines only a certain percentage of a town may be handed over to A2 use.

In a report to planners Mr Kasuji said that a precedent for a betting shop had been set for the area when Instant Cash Loans, trading as The Money Shop, was granted permission to open in Market Street, Wisbech.

Permission was granted in June last year following an appeal.

Fenland planners are yet to make a decision on the application which includes renovating the shop and creating disabled access.

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