TWO town centre shops which have lain vacant for more than 12 months are set to be converted into a bookmakers.

Done Brothers (Cash Betting) Ltd, which trades as Betfred, has been granted approval by Cheshire West and Chester Council to change the use of two retail units in Leicester Street, Northwich.

This allows the Betfred bookies in the Weaver Square Shopping Centre to relocate as the council re-develops the area.

Betfred will now take on the unit previously occupied by GAME, which closed in February last year, and Optisavers opticians, which closed in December 2019.

Both units had been marketed with no success.

A design and access statement submitted as part of the application said: "The proposed change of use is required to accommodate the relocation of Betfred’s existing business from Town Square, and to assist the council in facilitating re-development works of Weaver Square Shopping Centre.

"It is proposed to combine both units to form one larger unit to provide the floorspace required by Betfred and replicate the floorspace of their existing unit in Weaver Square.

"Both units 4 and 6 Leicester Street have been vacant for a period of more than 12 months and as they currently stand, do not contribute positively to the town centre.

"The proposed change of use would bring these units back into active use to support the vitality or viability of the town centre and strengthen its offering of shops and services.

"The proposed relocation of the business also allows for retention of staff which further supports the economy."

Permission was granted on May 24. For more details on the plans, use reference 21/00446/FUL on the council's online planning portal.