Anger at bookies plan for historic building

ANGRY campaigners have pledged to fight plans to turn one of Suffolk’s finest historic buildings into a betting shop – complete with satellite dishes.

Bookmakers Ladbrokes have applied to put two dishes on the roof of the Grade I-listed Market Cross in Bury St Edmunds as part of their controversial scheme.

Chrissy Harrod, manager of the town’s Cornhill Walk shopping centre, said: “I am really disappointed a listed building is going to become a betting shop.

“The Market Cross is a beautiful building and just lends itself to being something like a tourist information centre or a cafe. It is in a prime location in the town centre. I just don’t know how many betting shops we need. We will go down fighting.”

Ladbrokes are the borough council’s preferred tenants for the historic building, which has stood empty since the Woolwich closed in 2007.

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As well as putting two dishes on the roof, the firm plans to hang an illuminated sign on the west side of the property.

Built by architect Robert Adam in 1774 as a playhouse and town hall, the Market Cross is deemed “nationally important” by English Heritage.

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Sarah Green, chairman of the Bury Society, vowed to fight the plans when they go before the borough council next month.

“It is a sad day in Bury to see part of this beautiful Grade I building used in this way especially when I consider we already have enough betting shops in the town,” she said.

The plans come just weeks after discount retailer Poundland submitted plans to move into the former Woolworths building just opposite the Market Cross on Cornhill.

Ladbroke’s have applied to place a new sign in front of the shop’s arched fanlight which faces the market square on Cornhill.

They also want to put red aluminium signs will also be placed behind windows in other arched fanlights.

Bury Town Council’s Planning and Licensing Committee lodged no objection to the scheme at their meeting last week.

Paul Simner, chairman of the committee, said: “We were a little surprised it is going to be a bookmakers but the general feeling was it is better to have something in there than nothing.

“I am sure people will object because it is, perhaps, not what they would expect, but we have never heard of any trouble coming from a gambling shop.”

Ladbrokes have also applied for a gambling licence to go before the borough council’s Licensing and Regulatory panel on July 6.

A spokesman for Ladbrokes said the firm hoped to create at least five jobs at the outlet.

To view the plans, visit, ref: SE/10/0671.

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