Permission has been granted for a betting shop on Malmesbury High Street. 

Backhouse Bet will be opening on the site of the old Lloyds Pharmacy, which closed in 2020. 

They sought planning permission for the change of use of part of the ground floor of the building, and this has been approved, subject to conditions, by Wiltshire Council. 

The approval comes despite objections from five people. Concerns raised included gambling as a social problem and the proposal being incongruous as it does not improve the vibrancy of the town centre.

Backhouse Bet currently have 11 shops across the country, including three in Wiltshire. 

A planning statement submitted on their behalf stated: "It will provide an active frontage to the High Street and will add vitality and vibrancy to the town centre. 

Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard: Lloyds Pharmacy closed in 2020Lloyds Pharmacy closed in 2020

"There are no other betting shops currently within Malmesbury so it will not lead to an excessive concentration of such uses. 

"It will allow local customers who currently have to travel further afield to place bets locally and help encourage related trips to the town centre."

In her report, planning officer Germaine Asabere said: "Concerns raised by residents are noted however, the principle of development has been found acceptable and it is considered that no harm would be caused to the vitality and viability of Malmesbury Town Centre through the change of use of this ground floor space.

"Additionally, no material planning harm has been identified on design, amenity, visual impact, heritage or highways grounds that would justify a reason for refusal or indeed that cannot be overcome through the use of appropriate planning conditions.

"There will also be some benefits in allowing the scheme; a vacant property on the high street brought back into active use is a positive contribution to the vitality of the town centre and there is the offer of employment opportunities in the area. 

"The balance therefore weighs in favour of approving the application subject to any conditions."

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Conditions include the opening hours being limited to 9.30am-9pm Monday to Saturday and 11am-5pm on Sundays and bank holidays. 

The shop will employ five people - a manager, deputy manager, two cashiers and a cleaner.