A DECISION on whether bookie Paddy Power can open its first betting shop in Colchester will be taken next week.

The controversial bookmaker wants to open a shop in the former Pizza Hut, in High Street.

But Bobby Swift Bookmakers, also in High Street, has objected to the plans, saying it is concerned at the concentration of betting shops in the town.

It also said having too many bookies will encourage problem gambling.

If Paddy Power is allowed to open, there would be five betting shops in the 400m High Street.

A licensing hearing will take place next Friday, April 4, at 10am.