The retail industry has been struggling over recent years, which has led to high vacancy rates of between 10 and 15% within designated retail locations. One of the few success stories has been the growth in the number of bookmakers.
The number of bookmakers in the UK actually peaked at 15,000 in the 1960s but declines in the following decades left just 8,500 bookmakers by the early 2000s. This number has by and large remained stable over the last 10 years but there have been signs of recovery and this industry is one of the few that is actually opening new units on the UK’s High Streets.
This can only have a positive impact on the High Street and the designated retail areas. Whilst a bookmakers’ does not fall in Class A1 use, it does generate significant footfall which contributes to the vitality and viability of a centre, encourages linked trips with other retail uses and provides an ‘active’ frontage. This has been accepted by the Planning Inspectorate. Growth in the number of bookmakers therefore represents an excellent opportunity to bring vitality back to our retail areas through bringing vacant retail units back to life. This can be achieved through a change of use planning application.
Plainview Planning has regular success in the securing the change of use of existing retail units within town centres. Our approach has been to prepare professional evidence to demonstrate that the existing use is redundant and that the proposed use will make a positive contribution to vitality and viability within the centre and frontage.
If you are a bookmakers looking to expand and require change of use guidance, then please get in contact with one of our planners, either by email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call at 01245 201226.