Businesses in Shipley fear the town centre could become overrun with betting shops – damaging retail – if a national bookmakers is allowed to open in an empty shop.

Coral Racing Limited has appealed against a decision refusing planning permission to turn the vacant former Jack Fulton’s mini market into a bookies.

If the appeal is allowed, it will mean Coral will be able to open in a prime retail location with three other bookmakers within 50 yards – “damaging” the retail offer, traders said.

Bradford and District Chamber of Trade, Shipley Town Centre Development Partnership (STCDP) and Shipley Business Watch objected to the planning application. Jeweller Barry Cooper, a member of STCDP, said: “There has been a lot of work done to attract retailers and, if another bookies moves into what is a prime shopping spot, it will just drag the town down.

“We have enough bookies already. They do not attract foot fall, shoppers or investment.”

Coral submitted its plans for the empty shop in August but they were thrown out by planners at Bradford Council. The company has now appealed to the secretary of state in a bid to reverse the decision.

Bookmakers Ladbrokes and William Hill have shops in Kirkgate and Market Square, respectively, and Bet Fred has a shop in nearby Manor Lane. Coral already owns a betting shop in Kirkgate – three doors away from the empty shop.