Yarmouth traders prefer bookies to another empty shop

THE latest bookies set to open in one of Great Yarmouth’s busiest shopping and tourism spots has fuelled debate over the struggle of many businesses in the area.

William Hill is expected to move into a prime location on 3 Regent Road, provoking mixed reactions from shop owners and leading figures in the area regarding the move.

The gambling spot is one of three within a few hundred yards of one another, and, having gained licensing approval, is expected to open by the end of August.

Yarmouth borough councillor Charles Reynolds has cabinet responsibilities covering tourism.

He said: “I’ve got nothing against a bookmaker and it’s better it’s there than vacant, but it’s rather disappointing in such a prime area for that to happen.”

However, he added it was better there than nothing at all and pointed to the extension of Market Gates as a positive development.

The bookmakers replaces Pizza Hut, which closed on April 2, and will be employing two full-time staff and three part-time staff.

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Janet Docwra, who has run Docwra’s Rock Shop in Regent Road with her husband Stephen for more than 25 years, was more adamant about the news. She said: “We feel strongly we don’t need another betting shop. We have Joe Coral’s opposite us, another one just round the corner and one in the Market Place.

“The Pizza Hut site is at the gateway to Regent Road – the main tourist thoroughfare – and a betting shop is not the right thing there.”

However, Paula Platten, manager of the Gift House on Regent Road, said though she had reservations about another bookies: “I would rather it would be something else but at least it’s one less empty site.

And at Martyn’s Walk Round Store, company director Yvonne Rice said: “I think the era of picking and choosing of what goes where is gone. What do they want? Empty shops?”

A spokesman for William Hill said that a lot of market research had gone into whether there was a demand for the shop.

“Obviously that’s all been done and we think there’s a gap for one [of our shops] so we’re going for it,” he said.