Posted by Jenny
John, you will find that the objections to the granting of betting licence to Ladbrokes for a shop in Hebden Bridge are based on the unsuitability of that particular premises, and on the lack of demand for another bookies.
Many people in Hebden Bridge are concerned about the proposed Ladbrokes betting shop in Hebden Bridge. It seems likely that the opening of a Ladbrokes betting shop in Hebden Bridge will change this town for ever in a detrimental way.
The former Yorkshire Bank building gives Ladbrokes a perfect site for their advertising billboards,which will fill the windows - and now that Calderdale has granted planning permission for these windows to be enlarged, the billboards will be neither small nor unobtrusive!
The addition of a major chain, particularly a betting shop, into the town, is likely to push up rents and make it more difficult for local businesses to survive.
Hebden Bridge is famed for being "a great town of little shops" and was recently found to be the "least cloned" town in the UK, ie had the least number of national chains present in it, thus giving it much individuality. To have such a shop in one of the most prominent parts of the town is completely inappropriate and out of keeping with the conservation area.
Now that Ladbrokes has been granted Planning Permission for enlarging the windows of the former Yorkshire Bank building in Hebden Bridge, our Objection to their Application for a Betting Licence is our only hope of preventing this from going ahead.
Many people have moral objections to the opening of a betting shop, but these are not legitimate grounds for an objection to a licence being granted.
There is also great concern that the existence and the external appearance of a branch Ladbrokes, in this prominent building at the centre of Hebden Bridge will be out of character in this small, historic town.
Following the Public Meeting on Tuesday November 24th at Riverside School, a "Stop Ladbrokes" protest Demo is being organised for this Saturday, 3rd December at 2pm in St George's Square, Hebden Bridge.
We will be aiming to raise awareness of the Hearing for the Licence Application at the Magistrates' Court in Halifax scheduled for next Tuesday morning, 6th December at 10am.
We are encouraging people to make their voice heard:
Address your letters to:
The Licence Department
Our objections are based on paragraph 19 of Schedule 1 of the 1963 Betting,
Gaming and Lotteries Act:
(i) having regard to the lay-out, character, condition, or location of the premises, they are not suitable for use as a licensed betting office;
(ii) that the grant or renewal would be inexpedient having regard to the demand for the time being in the locality for the facilities afforded by licensed betting offices and to the number of such offices for the time being available to meet that demand.
* Protection of "vulnerable groups" from gambling
Problem Gambling : defined as "Gambling that to a degree compromises, disrupts or damages family, personal or recreational pursuits" (Lesieur and Rosenthal, 1991)
Problem gambling is statistically associated with the following socio-demographic factors: male, parental problem with gambling, low-income, divorce/separation.
Among the population aged 16 and over, the prevalence of gambling is between 0.6 and 0.8 percent: this means 275,000 - 370,000 people in Britain, or an extra two dozen in the Hebden Bridge area. The prevalence of "problem gambling" varies depending on the type of gambling activity engaged in: the lowest levels of problem gambling are found among those who participate in the most popular activities (National Lottery and scratch cards). The highest prevalence of gambling becoming a problem is found among those who play casinos or who bet in sports or events (excluding horses/dogs) with a bookmaker.
Posted by Pino Bartella
I was in your town this weekend,to visit a friend; and as a betting shop manager, and also a tourist, I feel that I should enter the debate on whether Ladbrokes should be welcomed in Hebdon Bridge.
Although I work for the opposition, William Hill, I can assure everybody that betting shops have changed for the better in the last 20 years. All the major chains provide comfortable surroundings and excellent facilities for betting on all sporting events.
I visited your existing shop in town and I have to say I was deeply disappointed. It was filthy, smokey, uncomfortable, and unwelcoming. Precisely the kind of place that my industry is desparately trying to disassociate itself from.
Whilst the desire to give local businesses preferential treatment in your town is laudable they still have to deliver the service. Would Ladbrokes have bothered to apply if the town already had reasonable facilities for betting?
I went to one of your "organic" establishments and ordered a latte. I sat down and waited 30 minutes for it to arrive. Can you imagine that happening in Starbucks?
Posted by Matt
I'm delighted to hear that 'your' industry are dissassociating itself from ".... filthy, smokey, uncomfortable and unwelcoming" towns such as Hebden Bridge. Let's hope that Ladbrokes come to the same conclusion. Enjoy your Starbucks.
Posted by Miv
I am confused.
All this fuss over a betting shop and yet not a peep over the major refurbishment of the Inn on the bridge. Surely this is a prime location as well.Is the modern frontage and its large screen TV showing Sky Sports all day not in keeping with the town as well?
Why no clamour to protect the children of Central Street from a bright loud exciting looking pub which may entice them to drink Alcopops in later life?
Posted by Jenny
sorry Mov - personally (and I am involved in the objection to a Ladbrokes) - I missed seeing the planning permission notice for the changes to the front of the Inn on The Bridge. But then there probably weren't any - because its still a pub, but yes it does seem to have been taken over by a 'big chain' and yes boo hiss, I think it looks awful - and, and, and ....what can we do?! maybe John Morrison's right, maybe we just can't stop the march of multinationals into Hebden Bridge - and it will change the town, if 'they' do come. Read the report of the Clone Town Britain published by the new Economics Foundation (links to it from the Hebweb news article on Ladbrokes).
Ladbrokes has to apply for a betting licence and so that gives those of us who are concerned about this 'takeover' by big chains something to actually take action on.
I don't agree entirely with John Morrison in his view that theres always been change in Hebden Bridge - yes there has, but so far its been a regeneration (of a town which lost its clothing manufacturing industry) built on locallly-owned small businesses , not multinational chain stores - and that's why we have such a vibrant local economy and a thriving, friendly town.
I dont have any assumptions that we'll win tomorrow in the Magistrates' Court - if we do stop Ladbrokes from being granted this licence, I believe that will be a 'first'. Communities and individuals have objected to similar all around the country in the last year or two, and not succeeded. But - we will try. And we will give it our best shot. This is about where we live, and its about fighting to defend the heart and soul of this great little town we have the privelege to live in. Call me anything you want. I'll be there in Court tomorrow. And I trust that I'll be in the good company of others with a similar view.
Thank you for adding your contribution. If you are concerned about the new face of the 'Inn' - and you have ideas about how to suggest they minimise their impact on our town, do post them on the hebweb. Cheers.
Posted by John Morrison
Jenny, I never suggested that we "can't stop the march of multinationals into Hebden Bridge". I just think that the best defense against this happening is the size of the town. Retail chains have no doubt looked at HB, over the years, and decided there wasn't enough business here.
And let's not get too sentimental about 'local' shops. The owner of one shop (junk/second hand... now closed) used to glower at customers in such an unfriendly way that it's hard to imagine anyone venturing in twice. And I once took a pair of trousers into the drapers (now Organic House) to have them taken up, only to be greeted with "Men... you're all the bloody same" by the lady behind the counter, who presumably hadn't completed the course on customer relations and seemed to regard my simple request as a salvo in the sex war.
While I'm happy to shop locally whenever possible, I don't agree that multinational business are necessarily the spawn of Satan. I have always used Apple computers, for example, rather than the locally-produced computer, the steam-driven 'Arkwright Champion', with its shed-friendly cast-iron keyboard.
I won't be patronising Ladbrokes if, or when, it opens. But that's got nothing to do with it being a 'multinational'. Betting against the bookies is a passport to poverty, that's all.
Posted by Andy M
So the culture question really boils down to: a quick bet or Patatas Bravas at £4:10 a throw....hmmm
Posted by Jenny
Maybe he who can pay the best lawyer always wins the case, and of course we were just enthusiastic amateurs by comparison, myself included. We did the best we could without expert legal knowledge or funds to pay a lawyer.
Some might say we just didn't have a case.
We had our chance to have our say, though.
It was a most interesting education. And of course I was disappointed, I knew we hadn't much hope, but I had to be hopeful. I still happen to prefer living in a relatively unmodernised small town. Aye well. Maybe the majority wants it modernising.
Thanks from me, if that's not too presumptious of me, to everyone who put in their "two penn'orth"
Maybe Ladbrokes will have taken a little bit of notice of the concerns they heard voiced, and so maybe we will get a shopfront less garish in appearance than some - nay, most - of their branches are. That would be something. Maybe they will really act on their expressed intention and desire to 'be part of the community' , and make a contribution to some local good cause.
Andrew - I hope you enjoy the new facilities. Bet you're pleased with the result?
Now then John _ I'm off to see if I can get a slightly more modern replacement for this 'ere Arkwright steam-powered computer o'mine! Any suggestions?!?!
Posted by Andrew Hall
I know I've been the 'bete noir' on this discussion topic. I was going to lie low, but, since you address me personally, will just issue this parting note.
I love Hebden Bridge. I can't imagine a better place to live. I can't envisage living anywhere else, having been here for over 25 years with roots firmly established. I have been fairly vociferous (well, on paper anyway) in opposing a lot of development - the Windsor Road dam site (of course still ongoing), Brown's Works at Mytholm, the ridiculous tree houses near Studio BAAD's offices,and many others. Hebden Bridge doesn't need to be any bigger.
There is only one danger with Hebden Bridge as it is now, and that is the division between the wishes and desires of the 'indigenous' (sorry, can't think of a better word) population, and those who have moved in. On the one hand, there is a need for shops that one would expect to find in a town of 10,000+ people, and on the other, the desire (not 'need') for Organic Cafes and slightly more off-beat shops.
The press have had a field day on labelling Hebden Bridge as 'quirky' and 'wacky'. That seems to find favour with some. But is it really the be-all and end-all for our wonderful town? Of course not! A town is not its buildings, its businesses, its 'quirkiness' - it is its people. And all people are valid, even those who want a branch of Ladbrokes!
I don't know if I will regularly use the new Ladbrokes. It's one of the reasons I did not testify in court on Tuesday (yes, I was there!). But, Jenny, that is where you do not understand where I'm coming from. I spend more time than I ought to in pubs in the area and the impression I get is that those who opposed the application are perceived as trendy do-gooders, and those who wanted Ladbrokes are only just wanting a facility that others have and they don't. Not my opinion, just my observation.
There are aspects of the town that I don't like. There are aspects that you don't like. But, as I have said before, the Hebden Bridge way is for a little 'give and take'. I do not accept that having a Ladbrokes at the old Yorkshire Bank will lead to the demise of our town in the catastrophic way you imply. It may even make it a little more inclusive.
I applaud your determination and resolution at opposing the Ladbrokes plan. I understand the reasons. But, hand on heart, I sincerely believe you are wrong in this instance. I just hope that the less disciplined amongst us don't carry out their threat to barricade the premises. That is the route of the 'no-hopers'.
I wish you well.
Posted by Dave Boardman
Can I suggest that Stephen Murty and his colleagues in the Hebden Bridge Business Association ensure that any reference to this being a 'great little town for independent shops' be left off any future promotion of the town. He should also tell Calderdale tourist staff not to promote the town in such a way in future.
Basically after he supported the arrival of Ladbrokes in Hebden Bridge it would be hypocritical in the extreme make such claims.
It is ironic that in the same year we have it confirmed, by the New Economics Foundation, that Hebden Bridge is the least 'cloned' town in the country the local business men and women decide that the days of independent shops as an attraction should be brought to an end.
If the business community want to encourage multi nationals and Calderdale planners and magistrates are not willing to defend the uniqueness of Hebden Bridge, it looks like the future is bad for those independent shops.
Mind you, it is also up to the people of Hebden Bridge not to use local branches of chains that do arrive. These guys are only interested in money. Maybe if people stopped using any of Mr Murty's businesses...
Posted by Jenny
Just this, Andrew..
"trendy" is something I don't think I've even approximated to since about 1983 (the days of Raffles nightclub in Mytholmroyd, white denim jackets, pink stillettos..)
These days I hear more public opinion whilst standing in the queue at the bread shop, the veg shop, the bus stop, and so on. The opinions I've heard in the last three months concerning Ladbrokes have been different from the ones you've heard in the pub. Ordinary people's opinions - ordinary people of all ages, from all walks of life - locals, offcumdens and visitors.
Such is life.
Now the decision's been made, the licence granted, we'll just have to wait and see. Time will tell and all that.
Best wishes to you, Jenny
Posted by Tessa Gordziejko
Following the most recent news, has anyone started a PR campaign about this ? I'm sure it is the kind of story that Look North and Calender and even nationals would pick up on - given that HB is both No 1 in the Independent Shopping chart and No 5 in the 'Creative Hotspots'. We have to make this a PR disaster for Ladbrokes - it must prove to be a very bad business move to bring a brand into a community which is so hostile to its presence.
If nobody is onto this, I and some colleagues with PR experience will volunteer to build a campaign.
Posted by Andrew Hall
Agreed. Let's see how things pan out. But I also have to agree with John M - the big boys have all cast their eye over our town and realised its not of a viable size. We won't get a Woollies, an M&S, a Harvey Nicks, a Starbucks, a MacDonalds, a Toys R Us or anything like that. If we do - in, say, the next ten years, I'll buy you a pint of any beverage you wish, and eat humble pie.
You say "..it must prove to be a very bad business move to bring a brand into a community which is so hostile to its presence..", and want to engineer bad publicity for Ladbrokes.
I think you'll find that there are vociferous minorities both for and against the Ladbrokes. The vast majority fall in the 'apathetic' category.
What you suggest will only polarise opinion. It will do nothing for the community. Quite the contrary, it could be destructive.
All the best
Posted by Tessa Gordziejko
I don't want to engineer bad publicity. I think PR around this issue can be designed to raise the profile of Hebden Royd as a creative community, with a significant voice prepared to defend the quality of it's public spaces. Placed in that context Ladbroke's actions, and by association, values, would be in conflict with something essentially positive.
I agree that probably the majority are apathetic but raising the profile of the issues will perhaps engage more people in having an opinion. There are a range of reasons why people have opposed this - economic, social welfare, aesthetic. Plenty to choose from.
I don't see why healthy debate around things that people feel strongly about must necessarily 'divide communities'. I personally don't feel I have to tar-and-feather my neighbour if s/he has a different view from mine on this, but maybe you have a different take on these things.
The important thing is for Ladbrokes to understand the implications of bringing their business to this community - the local response to the licence application will have given them a snapshot and I doubt they have made a final decision. I would guess that whatever market research they've done to identify this as s suitable location would make it a medium risk. If the industry is working to change it's spit and sawdust image, riding roughshod over local aesthetics and community pride is not a good message. If they do decide to go ahead, they will need to become involved in supporting he community in some meaningful way and making a contribution to the public realm if they are going to start to turn the negative groundswell around.
Posted by Steve McCulloch
Re Tessa's comments . . . what a load of arty farty piffle. From your observations I would doubt that you have ever set foot in a betting shop, but probably many an organic cafe or charity shop which Hebden is overwhelmed with.
I am impressed with their meaningful community support and contribution to the public realm . . . but then I am a minority cause so probably do not count as I am a meat eating, alcohol consuming, reformed smoker with an interest in gambling, and probably in her view an individual beyond redemption, so what benefits have I gained. Yet again we have the vociferous, ill informed minority trying to impose their will on the silent majority. Obviously another Tony Blair nanny government supporter, and a post that is not worthy of further comment.
Well done Ladbrokes, it is about time H.B. woke up and stopped believing the media comments. I was in Clitheroe last week and I was astounded by the number of independent shops, thriving market with genuine fresh organic fruit and veg, home grown and not for sale at telephone numbers. Even worse there was a gun shop and a fresh game shop, I thought I was in heaven. Why don't you all grow up and try entering the 21st century.
Posted by Matt
Where has this regularly quoted 'fact' come from that Hebden is ". . . overwhelmed with organic cafes". To my knowledge, there is one trading directly as such, Organic House. Hardly overwhelming really.
I was in Wiltshire this week, in a town the size of Hebden Bridge. The chains had completely taken over. There was a KFC, a small tatty Woolworths, Hallmark Cards, Millets, Dixons, Superdrug, Kwikfit (Murt's please take note - these things can come back to bite you...) etc, etc, etc. Maybe some people actually want this type of town here, and these outlets are not necessarily the work of the devil (!) but my personal opinion is that it would destroy whatever it is that Hebden Bridge has.
Posted by Andrew Hall
I agree that unbiased PR would do nothing but good for Hebden Bridge.
However, your statement 'We have to make this a PR disaster for Ladbrokes' sounds a little partisan, and hardly conciliatory (and yes, I stand by my comment of 'engineering', although in honesty, I think that does a great disservice to engineers). How will this kind of talk go down with anyone who is either for the Ladbrokes development (and there have been more 'pro' than 'anti' letters in the Hebden Bridge Times), or even those who are apathetic?
It does not strike me as being particularly good PR practice to use phrases such as that on a public discussion board. Even that mega-PR blunderer (Jo Moore)'s infamous 'burying bad news' comments just after the 9/11 atrocities were said to, what she thought, was a private audience. At the Licensing Magistrates hearing, Ladbrokes lawyers and agents had printouts of all the discussion on HebWeb, and your comments will certainly have not gone unnoticed by them.
But I don't want to stir things. There are so many more worthwhile causes that campaigners/activists could address.
I look forward to seeing how your PR campaign develops.
Posted by Steve McCulloch
My apologies Matt, overwhelmed with cafes, of which one is fully organic, thankyou for pointing out my error.
Posted by Andrew Hall
I don't think you need to apologise.
Everyone knows that the reference to 'Organic Cafes' should not (as Matt has) be taken literally.
It is more an allusion to the types of shop so prevalent in Hebden Bridge - bar/bistros, gift shops, shops selling pottery and things made out of paper and wood, charity shops,..in fact everything trivial, and nothing that any normal human being has any real need of.
I think you and I are of the same opinion. We don't mind shops full of rubbish, pandering to tourists and the nouveau arrives in town (sorry there should be an acute accent on the e of arrives), but we also want shops that actually serve a purpose. The Co-op - great (although a Booths would be nicer), banks, butchers, bakers, newsagents, greengrocers, cobblers, opticians, hardware stores, chemists, fish and chip shops, even (gulp) betting shops - great.
And we resent the fact that the 'nouveaus' are trying to dictate how our town should be. As John Morrison said, many want the town to remain just as is was the day they arrived. They don't care for shops that satisfy basic needs, after all they can take their 4X4's to Asda or Tesco for the weekly shop. They want a pretty, twee, trendy little cool town. What will come next? Will we have to sit a test to be eligible to live in Hebden Bridge?
I'm sure that you, like me, simply want an inclusive town. Sadly, the vociferous minority are not prepared to tolerate our views.
Posted by Matt
These must be the same non-existant, not to be taken literally organic cafes that you yourself have ranted on about in previous posts (31/10/05) ".... no one wants another organic coffee shop...".
Unfortunately, it seems we must not take literally one of your numerous previous posts (4/11/05) "I've seen enough of, and contributed more than my fair share to, this discussion topic. Time to move on I think."
Posted by Andrew Hall
Exactly Matt - that's the whole point! When I use the term 'Organic Cafe' it's exactly the allusion to which I refer in my last posting (paragraph 2)! I use it as a generic term covering a whole range of shops.
Re my continued postings. Yes - Mea culpa! Guilty as charged! But I get so incensed by the nonsense that some of the anti-Ladbrokes lobby drivel on about, that it would take the restraint of a saint not to continue to let everyone know that there is another point of view.
I'm quite happy to stop posting. It may give you the illusion that you've won the battle, and you can all continue to agree on how awful the situation is, and how it's Armageddon time for Hebden Bridge!
...unless of course Steve McCulloch takes up the cudgels! And he doesn't pull his punches like I do, and doesn't suffer fools gladly!
All the best for Christmas and the New Year. If I get any hot tips on horses, I'll let you know.
Posted by Oscar
As a 4x4 driving 'nouveau arrivés' I mainly agree with Andrews comments. However, we made a commitment when we moved here to shop locally, my 4x4 has only been to Asda twice this year.
As Steve said, I hope this is a wake up call to the businesses in Hebden Bridge. I'm sure if there was an existing quality Bookmakers then Ladbrookes would not be moving in. The fact a shop is independent, is no mark of quality.
I shop in Hebden on a daily basis, the butchers, the grocers, the bakers (a fishmongers would be nice). There are many shops I don't use, those which sell overpriced 'fair trade' products to tourists (as a 'nouveau arrivés' we used these shops to furnish our home). I don?t see why these shops can't co-exist to provide function useful daily shops for local residents whilst maintain the tourist attraction. It's up to the independent shops and HBBA to stop the influx of national chains by improving quality, service and diversity. If this is accomplished there will be no market for any national chains in Hebden Bridge.
I think a PR exercise against Ladbrookes would make the town a national laughing stock. It'll make the community look small minded and overly 'local' (Royston Vasey?)
Andrew, please don't bow to pressure not to contribute, your points are extremely valid and promote rational debate.
Posted by Rachel
I agree with alot of Oscar's points on this subject. Ladbrokes have managed to get the licence, shame - but so be it. If you don't want to use and support a service or business don't.