Five bookies ... what are the odds on that?

THE opening of a new betting shop in Sudbury has left shoppers questioning the need for the business.

Ladbrokes began its first day of trading in the town’s Old Market Place on Wednesday. It is operating in the premises formerly used by fast-food chain Wimpy, which relocated to East Street earlier this summer.

It brings the number of bookmakers in Sudbury to five – and this has resulted in claims the town is becoming overrun.

On the Free Press facebook page, Tammy Wilson said she was “horrified” that another betting shop had opened, while Kate Mattock said the lack of choice in the town would lead to shoppers looking elsewhere.

“Considering no-one is supposed to have any money, why another bookies?” she asked.

“We already have to pay to park – there will be no point in visiting Sudbury soon. I know you have to pay to park in the bigger towns, but at least you have a variety of shops.”

Others pointed out that in the current economic climate, a betting shop was not appropriate, while some voiced concerns that Sudbury also had too many hairdressers, charity shops and takeaways.

“Gambling is an addiction and I don’t think we really need another betting shop,” said Skye Sheppard.

“We currently have a recession on, but no-one seems to pay any attention to that. How about opening up another shop which caters for everybody and their needs.”

Ian Pointon, Sudbury town councillor, said the problem of similar shops outnumbering others and oversaturating the town was caused because planning committees could not refuse applications on the grounds of business competition.

“It would have been nice to see something other than a betting shop there,” he said.

The shop will employ five people, four of which come from the area, with its main launch taking place next month.

“Sudbury was an area that we were not trading in and an opportunity came up in the right location and we took it,” said Cheryl Knights, Ladbrokes district supervisor.

NOT IDEAL: Ian Pointon would have liked to see something other than a betting shop.