William Hill plan to open in Oakham could create 12 new jobs

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JOBS could be created if planning permission is granted to turn to empty shops into a bookies.

William Hill has applied to Rutland County Council to open a betting shop in the former Art Shop and Kitchenrange Cookshop buildings in High Street, Oakham, creating 12 full-time and part-time jobs.

The firm has asked for permission for a satellite dish and aerial, air conditioning, two fascia signs and one hanging sign on the outside of the building.

If permission is granted then that will mean two of the empty shops in High Street will be filled.

The empty shops are particularly prominent because there are three next door to each other. The former Ladbrokes building is still available for let through The Culshaw Partnership.

Elsewhere in the town centre things are also looking up.

Grant Murray from Murray Estate Agents in Market Street, Oakham, said: “We have had people interested in the former J.P Breeze building and it’s encouraging to know that people are now not only looking for office space but for retail as well.

“There is becoming less choice for properties in Oakham so people are beginning to have to make fast decisions on whether they want them or not.”

Flore’s House in High Street, which used to be a delicatessen and cafe, has been sold and the Rutland Mercury has been told information on the purchase will be released soon.

The former Footloose building in Mill Street is being transformed into a smokehouse and delicatessen.

Otter’s Smokehouse and Deli will be opened by former Oakham School pupil Leo Sugden, 22, from Hambleton within the next couple of weeks.

The refurbishment of the shop has taken about three months and Leo is confident that it will fit into the range of shops already in Oakham.

He said: “The growing discontent amongst people at the lack of quality in supermarkets and the desire to know that food is sourced from sustainable and natural environments, has motivated the opening of this specialist delicatessen outlet.

“Much of our range of smoked fish and meat is sourced from a smokehouse situated at the edge of a creek in Suffolk.”

Impact in Market Place is moving two doors down and will reopen in the former Vive building on August 20.

And with the High Street gradually reviving from its recent slump, Oakham Town Partnership and Oakham in Bloom have teamed up to brighten up the look of the remaining empty shops until they can be leased.

Oakham in Bloom vice-chairman Derek Bilby said: “As a trial we funded a set of bright and cheerful posters featuring volunteers’ favourite floral displays, such as the Osprey on the Burley Road roundabout, which are now on display in shops in the High Street and Melton Road.

“We have received so many positive comments that we are asking more shop fronts to display the posters.”

To view the William Hill planning application online visit www.rutland.gov.uk