Betting shop to open on site of old Halfords store in Cirencester

The old Halfords store on Cirencester’s Cricklade Street is set to become a betting shop.

BoyleSports has successfully applied for a change of use licence for the old auto parts shop, which has been empty since July 2020.

A number of objections to the application were received, including fears of an increase in mental health issues and anti-social behaviour and the fact there are two existing betting shops within 80m of the new one.

But the licence was granted in part due to the number of vacant shops within Cirencester and the fact it had been marketed for a year without any takers.

A planning statement produced on behalf of BoyleSports said: “The challenging climate facing high streets is well documented and has been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic.”

They said the number of vacant shops on or near to Cricklade Street ‘paints a clear picture of a town centre that is lacking in inward investment’.

“We believe that the proposed development will make a modest, but important contribution as betting offices are able to generate significant footfall and in turn attract other operators,” the planning statement said.

The proposal will create three full time and three part time jobs as well as 26 temporary construction jobs over the 6-8 week construction period.

Planning officer Chloe Buckingham wrote in her report: “The change of use is not considered to be harmful to the vitality and viability of the centre as the unit has been vacant since Halfords left in July 2020, a betting office can be described as a main town centre use and the unit has also been marketed for a period of 12 months without success.

“It is also not considered that the existing betting shops and proposed betting shop are linked to anti-social behaviour and the concentration of three betting shops within that part of the town centre is not considered to be harmful to the character of the area, as retail will remain the main use in the frontage.”

Permission has also been granted for a number of external alterations, including an illuminated sign.

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