A NEW bookies is planning to move into Morpeth — right next door to a rival operator.
William Hill has set its sights on a vacant unit in Sanderson Arcade, beside Morpeth Bus Station.
The premises, which were formerly occupied by Yeoman’s Outdoor Leisure, neighbour the existing Ladbrokes bookmakers.
The unit has been empty for some time and William Hill has now submitted a planning application to convert the store from an A1 use to a A2 betting shop.
An application for a gambling licence has also been lodged with Northumberland County Council.
A spokeswoman for William Hill said no firm details about the shop can be given until the applications have been decided, but if all goes to plan it should open later this year.
She said: “The licensing application has just gone in in the last week or so and all our plans will not be decided until the licensing application is approved or not.
“On a basic assumption that it will be granted, the shop would create four or five jobs for the local community.
“We would look to develop a brand new shop in the unit to create a state-of-the-art, modern betting shop.
“We would be looking forward to opening maybe in the late summer, but because the application hasn’t been accepted yet there is nothing confirmed.”
As well as the planning application for change of use, the company is seeking permission to install an additional air conditioning condenser unit, satellite dish and TV aerial.
Refurbishment of the shop would be carried out by the applicant’s in-house construction department. There would be level access throughout the customer areas, an open plan layout and seating where clients may be expected to spend large amounts of time.
There are also plans for an illuminated fascia sign and externally illuminated projecting sign.
A spokesman for Ladbrokes said the company would not comment on an application by another operator.
Dransfield Properties, which built and runs Sanderson Arcade, has confirmed it is aware of the developments.
William Hill is the UK’s largest bookmaker, with more than 2,370 licensed betting shops around the country. It offers over-the-counter and self-service betting terminals and casino-style gaming machines.