Objection over Leeds betting shop

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Councillors have lodged an objection against plans to open a new betting shop in Leeds.

Betfred was granted approval by Leeds City Council last month to change the use of a building in Queen Street, Morley.

The national bookmakers has also applied to the council to formally open a betting shop in the town.

But councillors have now lodged an objection to the plans with decision-makers.

They claim a new betting shop would “squeeze out” independent businesses in the town centre.

Coun Robert Finnigan (Morley Borough Independents, Morley North) said: “We are objecting to this new application for a further bookmakers in the town centre as we believe there are already enough bookmakers in Morley.

“The cumulative impact of such establishments on a town centre are well documented and their presence squeezes out those independent traders we need to support a thriving Morley town centre.”

The retail unit earmarked for a betting shop by Betfred had been empty. Coun Finnigan said objections can be lodged against a licensing application, if councillors believe the objectives of the Licensing Act are being undermined.

The company was granted full planning permission to change the use of the vacant unit and make alterations to the frontage, on February 2.

But, a report prepared by council officers said it will need permission from licensing bosses before opening.

A design and access statement, on behalf of Betfred, said the plans have “a number of significant benefits”, including bringing an empty unit back into use, boosting footfall in the town centre and the creation of new jobs.