Landmark Dewsbury cafe could become a bookies

Val's coffee shop in Dewsbury centre is closing and will be taken over by Ladbrookes.  (d621b321)
Val's coffee shop in Dewsbury centre is closing and will be taken over by Ladbrookes. (d621b321)

A betting shop will replace a struggling town centre cafe if councillors give the go ahead.

The owners of Val’s Coffee Shop are looking to leave Foundry Street, blaming poor trading conditions and ‘sky high’ business rates.

Ladbrokes have applied to Kirklees Council to open a new shop, just 230 metres from their other town centre premises, when the cafe closes down.

A Val’s Coffee Shop spokesman said: “It’s been bad since Christmas, we’re just struggling. It’s the business rates that are the killer for us.

He said that the shop, which has been a cafe for more than 25 years, would probably close in the next couple of months.

He added: “We are thinking of relocating to somewhere smaller. But it’s just finding suitable places.”

People have until June 4 to comment on Ladbrokes’ proposals.

Speaking at a meeting of Dewsbury Chamber of Trade on Monday, independent bookmaker George Carrigill raised fears that it will increase problem gambling in Dewsbury.

He said he believed that Ladbrokes was only opening the shop to install more highly profitable gaming machines, which he said are addictive.

Current regulations restrict bookmakers to four machines per shop, whereas Mr Carrigill averages only 2.5.

The new Ladbrokes would be just metres from two other bookmakers, Coral and William Hill.

A Ladbrokes spokesman said: “All of our shops provide the full betting and gaming experience including both over-the-counter sports betting and machines.

“We have another shop in the area but it is a much smaller unit whereas this venue gives more potential.”

He added that there was no proven link between problem gambling and gaming machines.