Bookmaker's tries to move into town
By Jane HuntA NEW bookmaker's shop in Lowestoft would serve the needs of the town's betting public better than two existing shops, it was claimed.Tote Bookmakers claimed a new shop in High Street would attract new customers and would not lead to the closure of the Ladbrokes shop in St Peters Street and William Hill's premises in London Road North.
By Jane Hunt
A NEW bookmaker's shop in Lowestoft would serve the needs of the town's betting public better than two existing shops, it was claimed.
Tote Bookmakers claimed a new shop in High Street would attract new customers and would not lead to the closure of the Ladbrokes shop in St Peters Street and William Hill's premises in London Road North.
It appealed at Ipswich Crown Court yesterday against a decision by North East Suffolk Licensing Committee to refuse the company a betting office licence for a former bed shop in High Street.
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Roland Godfrey, licensing and development manager for Tote, said a new shop operated by his company would provide improved facilities and service for customers.
Supporters of the new shop, which would create four full-time jobs, criticised the premises and service currently provided at nearby shops run by Ladbrokes and William Hill.
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Margaret Deakin said changes in television screens at the Ladbrokes shop had made it difficult for customers to see and absorb information.
She added the position of the screens showing racing was difficult to see when she was sitting down and felt the behind counter service was not good.
The pensioner also criticised the practice of having to ask over the counter for the key to the ladies toilet.
Meanwhile, keen better David Chappell, from Corton, said he felt the Ladbrokes shop in St Peters Street had gone downhill since being taken over by the national chain from an independent operator.
He described the service provided as poor and said in his opinion the number of people using the premises had dropped since Ladbrokes took it over.
Mr Chappell also criticised the William Hill Shop in London Road North as being “pokey”.
Another supporter of the proposed new Tote shop, Geoff Price, from Kessingland, said he regularly used to visit the Ladbrokes shop in St Peters Street, but no longer did so.
He was disappointed at the attitude of staff and added the nearby William Hill shop was cramped and too hot.
“It will be excellent to have a Tote shop. The area needs a good bookmaker's,” said Mr Price.
But Paul Purawell, national licensing manager for Ladbrokes, said his company had spent £17million improving television screens at its 2,000 shops and disagreed with witnesses who claimed it had made matters worse.
He also dismissed complaints about service at the St Peter's Street shop and said there were still staff there from the time before Ladbrokes took it over.
Mr Purawell further disputed a suggestion the number of customers using the shop had dropped and the St Peter's Street premises was not meeting the demands of its customers.
The appeal continues today.