Earlier in June, 2022, Sunderland City Council’s planning department received an application for a unit at the Galleries shopping centre in Washington Town Centre.
Bookmakers William Hill are seeking planning permission for a change of use to a betting shop, as well as changes to create a new secondary entrance and external signage above the new entrance.
This includes access via the main shopping centre doors and a separate standalone entrance door and display window on the external elevation of the shopping centre.
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The ground floor ‘Unit 1C’ is located within the western section of the shopping centre, adjacent to the western pedestrian entrance.
According to planning documents, the retail unit was last occupied by McColls newsagents but has been vacant for around six months.
A planning application states the betting shop use would create four full-time jobs and two part-time roles and would open between 8am-9pm.
A planning statement submitted to council planners also claims the betting shop use would have further economic benefits, including increased footfall and bringing a vacant unit back into use.
The planning statement adds: “Following changes in the retail market which have, in-part, been characterised by increased vacancies and lower demand for retail uses (including at the Galleries Shopping Centre), it is vital that town centres [sic] respond positively by allowing a diversification of their offer.
“Betting shops are a main town centre use, and it has been established through various appeals and survey evidence that they make a significant contribution to town centre vitality and viability, including a betterment above certain types of retail use. The proposals have considerable planning merit, therefore.
“The proposed advertisements are in-keeping with the established commercial character of the surroundings and are acceptable in terms of all relevant amenity and public safety considerations.”
A decision on the betting shop plans are expected once a period of council consultation has concluded.
For more information on the change of use plans, visit Sunderland City Council’s online planning portal and search reference: 22/01380/FUL