A NEW betting shop is on the way to Worcester’s St Martin’s Quarter – leading to criticism it is the “wrong location” for it.

Ladbrokes wants to become the latest retailer to take up a shop in the £75 million development, joining the likes of Asda, Costa Coffee and health chain Fit4Free.

But Councillor Joy Squires says a betting shop is “not what was envisaged” for the landmark site in Lowesmoor and wants an urgent re-think over the strategy.

The developers have responded by telling your Worcester News there is “strong interest” from restaurants – and that a host of other names will follow.

Coun Squires, Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Worcester, said: “I am concerned it is taking so long to attract the right sort of cafes and shops because when it opened we were promised a thriving St Martin’s Quarter.

“It is hard to know what the solution is because we get no information on what is actually happening down there, apart from when planning applications are submitted.

“A betting shop is not what was envisaged when the original vision was outlined for this area, and I think very few people will want it.”

She said she has “wider concerns” about people gambling, adding she hoped the quarter would be eventually home to a more varied leisure use.

Ladbrokes has submitted a planning application to the city council for a 1,030 sq ft shop and a decision is due by Wednesday, March 13. Bosses at the site have revealed there is “strong interest” from restaurants and are confident more retailers will come on board over the next few months.

Selwyn Rowley, from Carillion Richardson, said: “We are pleased that Ladbrokes as a successful leisure retailer will be opening soon in St Martin’s Quarter, as complement to Asda, B&M, Fit4Free and Costa, as it will add to the mixed use nature of the scheme and help it develop further as a successful destination for the city.

“We already have strong interest in restaurant uses for several units at St Martin’s Quarter and have further plans to bring forward a second phase which will be specifically aimed at restaurant and leisure uses.

“It will incorporate the area around the bed centre on the corner of City Walls Road and St Martin’s Gate, so we are encouraged to have support for this type of development.”

The development, which is anchored by Asda, has 284,000 sq ft of floor space and 26 units.