Paddy Power betting on empty shop in Gloucester
WORK has started to transform an empty city centre shop into a bookmakers.
Paddy Power is planning to open at 11 Southgate Street, taking over a unit that has been empty for months.
But the news has received a mixed reaction in the heart of the city.
Gerry Foote from the London Camera Exchange, which is opposite the new betting shop, would prefer to see a retail outlet there.
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He said: "I have nothing against betting shops, but I don't think there will be as much footfall compared to if it was a retail outlet.
"Gloucester is really lacking quality independent shops, like ours, which has been here for 40 years, and we need to attract these.
"Ladbrokes is already opposite and since the smoking ban came into force, bookies don't seem to attract as many customers as it is not a place people go to socialise like they used to.
"It has been empty for a couple of months and it being open is better than empty, but it would have been preferable to stay as a retail outlet."
Both Costa Coffee and Caffe Nero objected to the plans to turn the former shoe shop into a bookies, arguing that the plan would not add to the vitality of the street.
But Gloucester City Council leader Paul James said it may have been a struggle to get a retailer in.
He said: "I was reluctant about having a bookmaker there, but it is better than having an empty unit."
Paddy Power was unavailable for comment.