Empty Boots branch in Walsall borough will be converted into bookmaker's

An old Boots chemist which has sat empty in Darlaston for over a year will become a bookmaker's shop to the dismay of some shoppers.

The former Boots store in Darlaston Town Centre. Photo: Google
The former Boots store in Darlaston Town Centre. Photo: Google

Walsall Council planners have given the go-ahead to Boyle Sports to take over the empty unit on King Street and convert it into a betting shop.

But the plan has sparked concern amongst locals, who are worried about it bringing more debt to people while questioning the need for another one when there are already other outlets in the area.

Boyle Sports said they would create six new jobs and bring extra footfall to the area by reopening the unit, which has been closed since May 2020 since Boots left.

The company was formed in 1989 by John Boyle and now has more than 300 branches in the UK and Ireland.

One said on social media: “I can’t see how a third bookies will increase the footfall in the town itself to be honest. The town needs something different opening up.”

Another woman added: “There is bookies there so how stupid is that? Need a decent clothes shop, pound bakery, or a proper pound shop or something.”

A third commenter said: “Turn it into something needed or that would benefit the town – not something that will bring more debt to people.”

And another was also clear on their views when they said: “Daftness in some people’s minds. Yeah, let’s all get in to debts we can’t afford.”

Boyle’s agents Lichfields said: “Trade at the premises itself would be supported by the nearby residential area and the Darlaston Bus Interchange which would bring customers within close walking distance to the betting shop

“Moreover, if a market demand did not exist for a betting office in this locality, it is unlikely that the applicant would be seeking to locate to King Street.

“As the unit is currently vacant, it does not support any jobs or provide any meaningful contribution to the economy.

“The proposal provides for economic growth as it signifies investment by Boyle Sports in the unit.”

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