TOWN councillors have taken a stand against what they see as the “erosion” of their high street.
Members of Holywell Town Council voted not to support a planning application for a third betting shop in the town amid fears the character of the picturesque shopping centre was being diminished.
Last month an application for a 15th takeaway was approved by Flintshire Council despite objections, with town mayor Peter Curtis saying Holywell could turn into ‘chip-pan’ alley.
Speaking at a town council meeting Cllr Curtis said: “It is smack in the middle of our town.
“When people do hit hard times they look to try and alleviate the problem.
“I do not think another house of gambling in the town is a moral thing to do. We have to consider our town and we have to consider the people in our town.”
The final say on the application for a change of use from retail to a betting shop at 32A High Street will be made by the county’s planning committee.
Fears have been raised over the number of empty shops in the town and the high number changing from retail to other uses.
Objections over the application were raised due to the “erosion” of the town as a shopping centre.
Cllr Rosetta Dolphin said although the site was empty, that was preferred to the addition of another betting shop.
She said: “It is a bit of a stand to encourage people to bring retail in.
“To encourage shoppers, you need to have the custom.
“To have 75-non retail outlets in the town centre is really high. Holywell is a beautiful town and there is a lot of heritage that goes behind it.
“We do need more support. It is something the town council is serious about.
“We need the people of Holywell and the surrounding areas to support Holywell.”
Cllr Robin Baker said the Welsh Assembly Government’s planning inspectorate was making the process undemocratic, with county planners concerned refusal to grant permission could be overturned on appeal at a cost to the county.
He said: “It would be better that the people of Flintshire decide.
“It has become an anti-democratic thing. It flies in the face of the wishes of town councils.”
See full story in the Leader