Bets off for bookies bid

The proposed site
The proposed site

All three Banchory and Mid-Deeside councillors united to defeat the proposal for a new bookmakers in the centre of Banchory.

Cllrs Karen and Linda Clark and Provost Jill Webster were part of a cross-party coalition that sunk the proposal by six votes to three at the Marr Area Committee meeting in Strathdon on Tuesday (May 28).

The members said that they voted against the proposal to represent the views of their constituents.

121 letters of representation about the proposal were received by Aberdeenshire Council prompting the committee debate.

Cllr Karen Clark who spoke at Committee said that she was not elected by her constituents to bring another betting shop to Banchory.

She said: “In my six years as a local councillor this application has raised an unprecedented level of opposition. I felt very strongly about this application and like the other 111 people who wrote to the planners to object, I did not want to see Ladbrokes in such a prominent position on our High Street. We already have a bookmakers which is quite discreet in its current location and it is not appropriate to have another one.

There will be those who say this is NIMBYism but the voice of the community has spoken out against the application.”

Cllr Jill Webster said: “High Streets are struggling and I could not stand by and allow something to happen which is likely to make matters worse. The benefit of smaller town shopping centres like Banchory and on which we must capitalise is that they have high quality unique enterprises... Another betting shop in such a prominent position in the High Street would do nothing to improve the quality shopping experience that Banchory offers.”

Cllr Linda Clark agreed: “This would have done nothing for the town and isn’t part of the policy of town regeneration. I have nothing against people gambling, that’s up to them, but with the size of Banchory one bookies is enough.”

Donside councillor Alistair Ross commented on Facebook: “(The planners will) most likely get it on appeal.”