New bingo hall on way at site of former bookmaker in New Quay Road, Whitby

A bookmaker has been granted permission to change its Whitby unit into a bingo hall, despite a number of objections.

By Carl Gavaghan, Local Democracy Reporting Service
Monday, 4th January 2021, 11:59 am
Updated Monday, 4th January 2021, 12:02 pm
The former William Hill bookmaker site on New Quay Road is to become a bingo hall. Picture from Google images.

William Hill PLC applied to Scarborough Council last year for a change of use for the building in New Quay Road.

The shop was one of the hundreds closed by the company in 2019 as it blamed a fall in gaming machine revenues for the need to cut costs.

The company is looking to bring the building back into use and planning permission has now been granted by borough council planning officers even after more than a dozen objections were lodged with the authority.

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Its application to the borough council states that the premises will be open from 9am until 11pm seven days a week.

It adds: “The clear primary use of the premises would be a bingo hall, however, there are a small number of electronic bingo machines and an even smaller number of slot machines.

“The overall use would be as a bingo hall.”

No external changes are proposed for the building although the applicant adds that a separate application for new signs will be submitted at a later date.

One objection to submitted by a local resident who said gambling “preys on vulnerable people” and asked the council to refuse the plans.

Whitby Civic Society also objected, saying that the council’s Local Plan confines amusement centres in the town to a specified area in Pier Road.

The society added: “The policy also states that sessional bingo will not be allowed in an adult amusement centre.

"If it is such a centre it should be a closed environment and not in a development of the kind proposed here – this seems inappropriate to the character and appearance of the conservation area.”

In approving the plans, council planning officers wrote that they were satisfied the use of the building would not contradict the local plan.

The approval report stated: “Local Plan policy TOU5 indicates new or extended amusement arcades in Whitby shall only be located on a specific stretch of Pier Road.

“[It adds] ‘bingo games of the sessional kind, often called cash bingo would not be permitted within an adult gaming centre’.

“To an extent the proposal is a reversal of that situation, in that it limits the bingo in a gaming centre.

"The primary use sought is not a gaming centre/amusement arcade, so it is difficult to argue that the policy or supporting text is directly applicable.

"A condition is nonetheless proposed to limit the floor area used for slot machines to define the permission and ensure compliance with [the] policy.

“The question of whether the proposal would encourage more gambling over and above the lawful use of the premises as a betting shop fall outside the remit of planning legislation.

"They are potentially better dealt with as a part of the consideration of a licensing application.”

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