Bets are all off in row over Leeds gambling licence

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A gambling licence has been granted to a Leeds betting shop that is set to open next to a children’s toy shop, to the fury of locals.

Ladbrokes has been granted permission to operate from the Chapel Allerton district centre, on Harrogate Road.

But its choice of position - next to Armadillo on the main drag - has been lambasted by councillors, residents and shopkeepers alike.

Lisa Clay, shop owner, said: “We say that this will be harmful to children. The type of person who will visit the betting shop could have been drinking, could hang around outside smoking.

“But they said there was no proof that this would be the case. There was nothing we could do. Everything we raised was slapped down and dismissed as being not valid.

“It isn’t enough that 55 people objected, that residents and traders who actually live and work here do not want this shop.

“I am devastated.”

Meg Arnold, owner of Radish Books, said: “Sometimes councillors need to use common sense and realise that putting a gambling shop next to a children’s toy shop is simply wrong.”

Even members of the licensing committee told the YEP they sympathised with opponents, saying that their ‘hands were tied’ when it came to giving the gambling licence.

Coun Chris Townsley (Lib Dem, Horsforth) said:“Of course we understand and sympathise, but there’s no evidence a betting shop will cause problems. It’s only supposition, and that is not enough to say ‘no’.”

A spokesman for Ladbrokes said while there had been “some vocal people” many of the objections did not stand up to independent scrutiny.

He said the firm operated a strict age verification policy, and at a time when high streets were struggling betting shops attract footfall. Ladbrokes will fully engage with good causes in the area, he added.

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