A Belfast High Court judge has rejected all aspects of an appeal from Ladbrokes against a decision of the NI Planning Service to grant planning permission for the extension of two local independent bookmakers outlets in the city.
Sean Graham and Toal’s bookmakers were granted planning approval to extend their outlets in Castle Street and High Street respectively. Ladbrooke’s parent company in NI, North West Bookmakers Ltd, appealed that decision last year. At that time the legal representative acting for Grahams said the appeal by Ladbrokes was not based on environmental concerns but was the act of a ‘disgruntled competitor.’ Judge Treacy rejected Ladbrokes’ arguments and this week has published his written determination.
The judgement states that the Planning Service had ‘formed a perfectly lawful and rational view about whether the developments will preserve or enhance the character of the area. The grant of permission is in accordance with applicable planning policies and the application (by Ladbrokes) is dismissed.’
Sean Graham’s General Manager Chris Deery welcomed the decision. “It is our view, supported now by the legal judgement, that the appeal by Ladbrokes amounted to an attempt to disrupt our expansion plans. They were effectively using the legal system as a commercial tool.”