CONCERNED town councillors have expressed fears Evesham town centre could be filled with ‘betting shops and charity shops’.
A number of councillors spoke out at a meeting of Evesham Town Council on Monday (April 14) while discussing a planning application for a change of use regarding the former Blockbuster store.
An application has been made to turn the former video rental store on the High Street, which closed late last year, from a retail premises into a ‘financial and professional services’ site.
And although no specific company has signed up to occupy the premises, a change to financial and professional use would allow the building to be let or sold to a bookmakers or pawnbrokers.
Coun Martin Hammon, chairman of the Promotion Committee, said: “My only fear is this does not become a bookmakers but instead becomes a pawnbrokers.
His concerns were echoed by Coun Fred Kaler who urged the town council to stem the take up of empty shops by bookmakers.
“If we are not careful we will have betting shops and charity shops taking over in Evesham town centre,” he added.
Coun Gerry O’Donnell said he wanted to see the unit kept for retail use because of the overwhelming need for such premises in the town.
Coun Richard Jones, who also owns Cartridge World on Merstow Green, said: “We do need more retail stores in the town.
“There are already more than enough bookmakers and charity shops. What we do need is a more varied retail experience.
Members voted overwhelmingly to object to the application, although the final decision will rest with members of Wychavon District Council’s planning committee.
The application is expected to be discussed by the authority at an upcoming meeting.
* What do you think? E-mail your views to email@example.com