Wigan town centre set to welcome new betting shop

A listed building is set for a new lease of life as a betting shop after planning permission was granted.

Friday, 18th June 2021, 2:53 pm
Updated Friday, 18th June 2021, 2:54 pm

Boyle Sports intends to transform the building, on the corner of Wallgate and Library Street, into a betting shop.

The Grade-II listed site, which sits opposite a Betfred store on the other side of the road, has been vacant since 2018, when it last operated as The Coffee Bank cafe.

Before this, it operated for several decades as a bank.

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No.1 Wallgate will house a betting shop
No.1 Wallgate will house a betting shop

The developers hope to tap into the gambling market in the area, which has seen three other bookmakers close since 2017.

Six new jobs will be created when the shop opens, with operating hours from 8am to 10pm set to boost the town’s evening economy.

Boyle Sports is the biggest bookmaker in Ireland and Northern Ireland, having started out in 1982. By 2011, it had 182 outlets.

In 2019, the firm entered the market in Great Britain, with the acquisition of 13 Wilf Gilbert stores - a Midlands based independent bookmakers.

The company is now keen to continue its expansion across the UK, and has earmarked Wigan town centre as an ideal opportunity to continue its growth. In a planning statement, the business said it would provide a boost for the town centre economy.

The company said: “The proposals will return a vacant unit, which in its current form detracts from the wider street scene and its historic setting, to commercial and economic use, having stood vacant since June 2018.”

It added: “Boyle Sports would represent a new occupier of the town centre at a time when betting shops face an uncertain future with a number of the household names announcing job cuts and store closures.

“It would also be a timely boost to the centre of Wigan, which has a number of vacant units, reaffirmed during Planning Potential’s site

visit.

“The challenging economic climate has also been exacerbated in recent months because of Covid-19.”

The firm went on: “Boyle Sports aims to be a responsible operator in all areas it operates in and is committed to investing time to train its staff and work closely with neighbours and community representatives.”

Full details can be viewed at planning.wigan.gov.uk using the reference code A/20/90545/FULL.

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