RESIDENTS have signed a petition to oppose the conversion of a former betting shop into a convenience store that is for "no-one's benefit". 

An application has been sent in for a proposed change of use of the vacant former William Hill on Seddon Street, Windlehurst, into a retail premises 

Applicant Mr A Kanthanathan has submitted the bid for a certificate of lawfulness to council planners, which claims that prior approval is not required for the conversion.

What does the application say?

A planning statement by agents MAT Design in the application states: "Class A of the most up to date GPDO (General Permitted Development Order) allows an owner/applicant to go from a either a casino, a betting office, a payday loan shop or a hot food take-away (all Sui Genris uses) to commercial, business and service which is Use Class E, as permitted development.

"As we understand it, there is no prior approval application required and the only requirement is to write to the Local Planning Authority informing them when the building will change over from the Sui Genris Use (betting office) to Use Class E."

The statement adds: "The proposals for the site are to use the existing betting office commercial floor space as a retail premises selling convenience goods" and that "no external alterations are proposed as part of this application". 

It concludes: "The change of use of the commercial floor space is permitted development under Schedule 2, Part 3, Class A of the most recent General Permitted Development Order. As such, we would ask that the Local Planning Authority issue the requested certificate".

Residents sign petition against plans

More than 60 letters of objection against the application have been submitted to the council at the time of writing, with residents signing a petition to express their opposition.

One resident, who lives on the street close to the former William Hill, said to the Star: "Our street is a quiet street and we do already have a convenient stop on the corner. 

"It is a fabulous shop run by a lovely family and it had a Post Office inside.

"A lot of people have signed a petition to stop the betting shop being turned into another off-licence, we also have another shop just at the bottom of Hard Lane so that makes two within a two-minute walk of each other.

"It is to no one’s benefit for another shop to move in five doors done from an existing one and I can speak for the street and surrounding area when I say we do not want another shop."

A decision on the application is expected by council planners before a determination deadline of July 23.