Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council has approved plans submitted by Novomatic’s high street brand Admiral to convert a former William Hill in the town into a new AGC.
The Winchester Street unit has remained empty since the bookmaker departed in October 2019 – some two years shuttered – with a new life set to improve “the viability and vitality” of the town centre.
“In effect, the change of use would be from one gambling establishment to another,” said the application. “Covid-19 has accelerated change on the high street as a consequence of businesses reducing their store portfolios.”
“Local planning authorities need to reconsider how they apply protective town centre policies and greater support needs to be afforded to those sectors in which businesses, such as those operated by the applicant, are continuing to invest in the high street.”
Repurposing the vacant unit will deliver 12 new jobs, with the site becoming Admiral’s 235th UK venue.
“Leaving properties vacant for long periods is normally considered detrimental to the viability and vitality of a town centre,” stated the application, adding that the AGC will “contribute to the viability and vitality of the centre… by helping to add footfall and creating linked trips to other town centre retail and services that would not otherwise occur.”