Betting shop to open in Ballater

BALLATER is to get a new betting shop despite objections that a bookmaker would be out of step with the village's conservation status.

Members of Aberdeenshire Council's Marr Area Committee decided on Tuesday to approve the application from Miss A Kidd for the betting shop (and satellite dish) in Netherley Place.

There had been objections from Ballater and Crathie Community Council, Glenmuick Parish Church and local residents. However, one local supporter, Martin Holroyd, said he backed the idea because he was frequently asked by visitors to Ballater where they could place a bet and he had to tell them the nearest bookie was in Banchory —a 50-mile round trip.

Upper Deeside councillor and committee chairman Marcus Humphrey said he did not think Ballater needed a bookmaker and there were larger villages in Aberdeenshire that did not have a betting shop. Challenged by Banchory councillor Jenny Watson he admitted he did bet on events such as the Grand National —but that he used the telephone.

Donside and Cromar councillor Bruce Luffman said he would go along with the idea and said he believed there was a large catchment area around the village for such a service.

Dr Sheila Sedgwick had written to the council on behalf of the community council objecting to the betting shop. She pointed out that the door is shared with flats and was an area children frequented and was close to Alldays store and the Post Office. She stated the betting shop would be near a bar and the concept was undesirable.

Another neighbour expressed fears nearby properties would be devalued and there would an increased problem with parking. It was also pointed out that young people could be influenced by the immediate availability of gambling.

Councillors were reminded at Tuesday's meeting that the committee had given approval for the redevelopment of the Coach House Hotel to provide five flats and a restaurant in August 2001. The redevelopment had also included a shop and it was in respect of those premises that the current application was made.