A BETTING firm has been granted permission to open a bookmakers at the site of a former newsagent.

The unoccupied Finlays store, next to Asda in Whinbush Way, in the Whinfield area of Darlington, is set to become a Coral betting shop after Darlington Borough Council planning officers granted a change of use.

The permission, granted under delegated powers, came after officials received no complaints about the plans from interested parties living in the area.

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In its application, an agent acting for Coral Racing Ltd said a betting shop at the site would increase “the viability and vitality” of the area as the lengthy opening hours at Asda meant other small retailers would struggle to compete.

The company has also been granted permission to make minor changes to the shop frontage, including new signage and doors.

In a report explaining the delegated decision, the council’s planning officers noted: “There does not appear to be a policy issue with this loss of retail use in this location to be replaced with a betting shop, therefore the use is acceptable.”