Plans to convert former Marks and Spencer site into a pub, restaurant and adult gaming centre approved
East Riding councillors have approved plans to convert a former Bridlington Marks and Spencer into a pub, restaurant and adult gaming centre despite concerns it could fuel gambling.
East Riding Council’s Eastern Area Planning Sub-Committee approved the conversion of the store, in Prince Street and closed since April 2018, into three new units which would open this summer.
Matthew Wyatt, agent for pub chain Amber Taverns which submitted the plans, told councillors the development would bring around 1,900 square metres of empty space back into use.
He added the plans had been altered to address nearby residents’ concerns over late night noise and the £800,000 conversion could create up to 20 full and part time jobs.
But committee member and Bridlington South ward member Cllr Tim Norman said offering more gambling venues was not the “best move” for the town.
Committee member Cllr Denis Healy said a new venue in the heart of the town could draw in “desperate people” who see gambling as a chance to change their lives when it rarely does.
The approved plans also include retail and office space and a manager’s flat upstairs, with the proposed restaurant and Three Brass Monkeys pub licensed in May and June respectively.
Mr Wyatt said the size of the former store meant it was unlikely interested developers would come along very often.
The agent said: “We’ve undertaken noise assessment which demonstrated there wouldn’t be an impact on nearby residents.
“It’s sad that Marks and Spencer closed, but this will bring an immediate economic benefit to the area and it’s a fantastic opportunity for the site.”
Cllr John Copsey, also of Bridlington South ward, said: “It was sad to see Marks and Spencer go, but they’re not coming back.
“The store is a massive hole in the centre of Bridlington and this looks like a prime development for it.
“I can’t think of a pub that doesn’t have a bandit in it and if I wanted to I could sit at home and gamble online.”
Cllr Norman said: “I’m not sure if this is the direction we want to head in a mainly retail area.
“Part of the development will be retail but I’m worried this is too much for this area of Bridlington.”
Cllr Healy said: “Very vulnerable and desperate people can get sucked into these places thinking they can win the unwinnable.”
Committee member Cllr David Tucker said: “I concur with concerns about gambling, but we’re in a time now where major high street retailers are falling by the wayside and that leaves us with a conundrum.
“We’ve got massive stores standing empty on our high streets, if we don’t support plans like this then what happens to them?”
Committee chair Cllr Sue Steel said: “It is sad to see Marks and Spencer go, but that was some time ago.
“We need other developers to come forward with plans for stores like this, and local councillors seem to think it will work.”
Article by Joe Gerrard from the Local Democracy Reporting Service