CONCERNS have been raised about proposals for a new betting shop at an Oxford shopping parade.

Coral has submitted three planning applications to Oxford City Council to convert 4 Courtland Road, Rose Hill, previously occupied by the Oxford Bed Company but now an empty shop, into a bookmakers.

The parade, which has a number of empty shops, already has a Ladbrokes.

Rose Hill resident Mike Knibbs said: “From a personal opinion I think it is horrendous that they want to have another betting shop.

“There are about 14 shops, of these five or six are takeaways, two funeral parlours and they want two betting shops.

“There are hundreds of different shops that we could do with rather than a betting shop.

“I think the problem is now that people are getting more and more into debt. It is becoming more and more of a problem.”

Ed Turner, pictured, Rose Hill councillor and deputy leader of Oxford City Council, said councillors have now decide to ‘call in’ the application, which means it will be decided by a planning committee at a date to be fixed, instead of by planning officers.

He said: “We have called this in because of the concerns from residents. Firstly about not needing a new betting shop in this location — there are already betting shops nearby.

“And secondly about the illuminated signage.

“The planning committee will have to consider those concerns.”

Haris Kasuji, from rrplanning, planning consultants to Ladbrokes, said: “This is a small neighbourhood centre of 19 units which is already adequately served by an existing betting office use.

“The proposal may only attract footfall from the existing betting shop rather than generate new footfall to the centre in the way that a new retail or other community facility may provide added vitality.

“As the site does not appear to have been marketed at all, there is no way of establishing whether there is any viable retail or other interest from local or even national operators who could bring additional footfall and new facilities to Rose Hill neighbourhood centre.”

But Bharat Dalal from Old Man’s Premier convenience store, which is next door to 4 Courtland Road, said: “We support a new business at 4 Courtland Road — it is essential for the neighbourhood that all empty shops are occupied.

“Instead of appearing as a rundown area this new business will uplift the surroundings. My only concern is about parking.

“There is only a limited amount of parking made available by the council, taking into account that Coral will be employing five people, and the customers who will also need to park from 7am to 10pm.”