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Betting shop plans for former Barclays bank building get the go-ahead

Plans to convert Driffield’s former Barclays building into a new betting shop have been approved by East Riding of Yorkshire Council.

The Driffield & Wolds Weekly revealed in March that Boyle Sports had applied to convert the premises in Market Place from a bank.

The idea proved controversial and Driffield Town council unanimously opposed the proposal at its meeting last month.

Former mayor Cllr Mark Blakeston also objected in a personal capacity, stating: “Driffield already has established betting shops and I believe another would be detrimental on the vitality of the high street and the perception of the town. The Barclays building is iconic on Middle Street South and I believe that its conversion to a betting shop would have a significant visual impact on the street. I would urge this application to be rejected.”

Other residents also sent letters of objection, with comments including:

● “The social impact of betting and gambling is colossal and I hope to God this does not go through.”

● “We will never become a destination for visitors if we continue allowing barbers, vape shops and betting shops rule our town.”

● “A large building such as the Barclays bank – which is architecturally beautiful – would be better suited to a much-needed food and beverage business, which would also create more jobs for the local community and attract more people to the town.”

● “A betting shop does not scream ‘lovely market town by the coast’.

BoyleSports is the largest independent retail bookmaker in Ireland and says it is actively expanding its retail and on-line presence in the UK.

When its planning application for the Driffield premises was submitted, Sharon McHugh, head of communications for BoyleSports, told the Wolds Weekly: “Before opening at any location BoyleSports undertakes extensive market research.

“We identified Driffield as a location that would benefit from our unique retail environment and innovative industry leading offers, and we hope we will be able to open to the betting public in Driffield towards the end of the summer.

“In addition to the 26 temporary construction jobs, the new shop will also create three full-time and three part-time jobs and support numerous supply chain roles. BoyleSports will also be investing in the region of £300,000 to provide a first-rate betting shop in this location.

“We pride ourselves on ensuring our customers have an enjoyable and comfortable space to bet and we look forward to bringing our Driffield customers more choice along with excellent service in the new retail outlet.”

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