Bookies’ bid fails to set town council aflutter

CONCERNS have been raised about plans to open a bookmakers shop in an area of Morpeth.

Coral Racing has applied to Northumberland County Council for a change of use at a vacant building in Abbey Meadows, Kirkhill.

It used to be a butchers shop (Meat of Excellence) and most recently it was occupied by a coffee bar and deli.

If approved, the betting firm would redecorate the shopfront, install new signage and attach satellite dishes and two condenser units to the rear elevation.

The 83sq m site needs permission to change from an A1 use (shops net tradable area) to A2 (financial and professional services).

The proposed opening hours are 7am to 10pm seven days a week. Its advertising sign would be illuminated.

Morpeth Town Council’s Planning and Transport Committee believes that a bookmakers is unsuitable for the area and it has objected on the grounds that there would be an increase in traffic in a street which is already congested at peak times.

The building is near Abbeyfields First School.

An application for a gambling licence has also been lodged with the county council and the committee will make its response to this at its next meeting.

There is now the possibility of two new bookmakers coming to Morpeth this year, as William Hill lodged a change-of-use application for a vacant unit at Sanderson Arcade in April.

It includes plans for an illuminated fascia sign and externally illuminated projecting sign.

The town council did not make an objection, but members said that the units must not be conspicuous as the location is in a conservation area.