BoyleSports (UK) Limited is to transform the Old Chocolate Box in Clitheroe into a betting shop following the decision of the local authorities to make a change and see the retail space used as a betting office.
As part of the development, three part-time and three full-time jobs are set to be established. If everything goes according to plan, the betting shops will be open seven days a week, from 8:00 AM until 10:00 PM.
In its application to the Ribble Valley Borough Council, seeking to turn the former chocolate shop into sports betting shop, BoyleSports also seeks permission to make a number of external alterations to the building. The changes include the addition of an air conditioning unit within the store to the rear side of the building, the addition of two satellite dishes to the building’s rear roof, as well as installing a heritage-style projecting board sign placed on a decorative wall bracket.
BoyleSports lodged its application with the Ribble Valley Borough Council in May. At a planning meeting that took place on September 29th, the Council members gave their approval to the proposals, but it did not relate to the proposed alterations to the building. At the time, planning officers said that the Local Planning Authority needs to be informed in case there are any changes to the already approved plan.
BoyleSports’ Betting Shop Project Faces Opposition
Although the project has been given permission by the Ribble Valley Borough Council, it has faced several objections, including one that stated that the development of the site to a gambling venue would be inappropriate for the area, which involves the main street in Clitheroe. The objection cites the lack of parking and the size of the pavement as reasons why the project is considered unsuitable for the place, but it also raises a red flag about the potential harm that could be brought to the community by gambling, saying that the area is a major family shopping centre and such type of development would not be fit to the place.
Another concern pointed out in the objection was associated with online gambling’s rise in popularity, with the text saying that could mean another empty unit at the same place within a relatively short period of time.
This has not been the only instance of opposition faced by the project. Another objection states there is no guarantee that the proposed betting office would result in generating benefits for the area, even more, it could have an adverse effect upon the character of the frontage and its retail function and could spoil the spirit of the old fashioned yet vibrant centre of the town.
Still, the Ribble Valley Borough Council said that the core strategy of the borough emphasised the importance of development that would support and enhance the consumer choice, vitality, vibrancy and unique character of the most important service and retail centres in the area. The Council believes that the establishment of a betting shop at the place of the Old Chocolate Box would contribute exactly to the retail vibrancy of the area, so the proposed change of use would be given the green light.