A STORE that has lain empty for more than two years looks likely to be turned into a betting shop.
Coral bookmakers has applied to Croydon Council for a gambling licence for No. 6 The Parade in Old Coulsdon.
The former Oddbins shop would become the second bookmaker in the village, which has a Betfred roughly half a mile away.
Brian Udell, chairman of the Old Coulsdon Residents' Association, said the use may be better then nothing.
He said: "I don't think it will be welcome, but on the other hand it could be better than an empty shop. At least it will be used."
His association had not yet decided whether to object to the plans, he added on Tuesday.
A spokesman for Coral said the company planned to open from 8.30am to 9.30pm, and promised the shop would benefit the area with its "brand new" frontage and "welcoming" atmosphere.
Simon Clare, added: "It is a place where people of all ages go and spend time.
"It may be a victim of antisocial behaviour as much as a pub or a restaurant – that is as much an issue for any retailer as it is for a betting shop, and we take that seriously."
The Advertiser reported just over one year ago how the shop's landlord, Nicholas Defries of Merstham in Surrey, wanted to turn the store into a charity shop.
His plan was to sell pre-owned goods and donate part of the profits to Battersea Dogs and Cats Homes and the Dogs Trust.
Mr Defries was unavailable for comment this week but his wife said he was pleased with the proposed use.
In March a Paddy Power in London Road, Croydon, became the borough's 66th betting shop, while a London Assembly report raised concerns about concentrations of betting shops, pawnbrokers and payday loan shops turning visitors away from the high streets.
The potential opening of the store sparked debate on the residents' association's Facebook page.
Hannah Harries said: " No betting shop, thanks. Personally I think it would undermine the quaint character of old Coulsdon."
Responding to a different comment, Andy Haynes said: "I certainly wouldn't say it attracts dross. . . I'm of the opinion if you don't like the idea of it then don't go in it."
Croydon Council said the permitted hours of trading for a betting shop are 7am to 10pm every day.
The shop would have to apply for permission to trade outside of those hours, a spokesman added.
The authority is asking for any comments on the licence plans to be made by Monday December 23.
E-mail any of your comments to licensing @croydon.gov.uk