Discussion Forum


Posted by Anne
Wednesday, September 7, 2005

I see that Ladbrokes are applying for a gambling license for the old Yorkshire Bank building. There are notices on the windows. I think I'd rather have a fish and chip restaurant than a betting shop !

Posted by Suzanne Paskin
Wednesday, September 7, 2005

I have spoken to Donaldsons and the Yorkshire Bank board have already agreed the deal Ladbrokes have offered. They will be leasing the building for 6 months before buying.

A number of local Hebden Bridgers bid for the property but where apparently all outbid by Ladbrokes. I know some of the other people who were interested in the property. Other propositions were an organic restaurant, a charity shop and a another type of restaurant/cafe. Donaldsons also told me that another national chain were interested.

It is such a lovely building and prime location by the lights, it will be terrible if ladbrokes get it. I understand that they are waiting for the betting licence as they already have planning permission. What can we do to stop this, any ideas!!

Contact details for the guy dealing with this are: Stephen.Henderson@Donaldsons.co.uk

0113 233 7325/07793269454

Posted by Steve
Wednesday, September 7, 2005

Why would it be terrible if Ladbrooks get the building? Its hardly a sex shop is it!

At least it will bring a bit of variety - rather that than another smoothie bar, charity shop or second hand book shop.

Posted by James Ashworth
Monday, September 12, 2005

I disagree, one of the things I love about Hebden is that there are none (apart from the banks) of these chains here. Besides, does Hebden really need another betting shop?

Posted by Tony
Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Quote: "one of the things I love about Hebden is that there are none (apart from the banks) of these chains here."

So are Forbuoys and Spar not chains then?????

Posted by Anne
Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Quote: "one of the things I love about Hebden is that there are none (apart from the banks) of these chains here."

"So are Forbuoys and Spar not chains then?????"

Or Reeds Rains or the Co-op?

OK, there are several chains in Hebden, but it's not just about whether they are part of a chain - some chains are more acceptable than others. Would a sex shop be OK so long as it was not Ann Summers?

Personally, I wouldn't want another betting shop in Hebden, but I can't see any valid reason for objecting.

I'd like to think they could be restricted in what they can do to the outward appearance of the building - a typical Ladbrokes window in that prominent position would look horrid. But if it continues to look like a bank I'm not that bothered what people do inside so long as it's legal.

Posted by Mari
Thursday, September 15, 2005

Can we object to betting licence?

I really don't want to see a Ladbrokes in the old bank, especially if it's going to look like a traditional Ladbrokes window, as someone else suggested. Does anyone know whether local residents can object to the licence being granted, and if so, would anyone be interested in joining me to put a formal objection together?

Posted by Anne
Thursday, September 15, 2005

It's in today's HB Times, Mari:

"Objections must be received by September 20. Two copies of a brief statement of objection should be sent to the Clerk of the Betting Licencing Committee, Petty Sessional Area of Calderdale, the Court Office, PO Box 32, Harrison Rd, Halifax, HX1 2AN"

But I think they'd need a pretty strong objection to stop an established bookmaker from getting a licence.

If the police objected on grounds of increased crime they might take notice? But would it actually increase crime?

Posted by Jenny
Sunday, September 18, 2005

If anyone has not yet written to object to the proposed licence and wishes to, or has not yet made up their mind but is thinking of it, here are some grounds for objection based on paragraph 19 of Schedule 1 of the 1963 Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Act. Letters of objection must be received by TUESDAY 20th SEPTEMBER.
  • (i) that, having regard to the lay-out, character, condition or location of the premises, they are suitable for use as a licensed betting office;
  • the premises are on an extremely busy junction and so presenting a potential distracting hazard for drivers;
  • the premises are within easy reach of two primary schools (Riverside Junior School, and Central Street Infant and Nursery School). Indeed, the former is less than 200metres from the proposed site, while the latter is less than 300metres away. Furthermore, many other young children walk past the proposed shop on their way to a third primary school, Stubbing Junior School;
  • The town centre is already a magnet for people engaging in undesirable and anti-social behaviour. The opening of a betting shop would further exacerbate this problem;
  • Many 18-24 year-olds are already vulnerable to gambling addiction. Another betting shop would entice and create more potential victims;
  • Hebden Bridge was recently acknowledged to have the best "independent high street" in the country with only three national chains (except banks) operating there. The opening of a branch of Ladbrokes would have a severely detrimental effect on the character of the town
  • (ii) that the grant or renewal would be inexpedient having regard to the demand for the time being in the locality for the facilities afforded by licensed betting offices and to the number of such offices for the time being available to meet that demand;
  • there is already a betting shop in Cheetham Street, less than 200 metres away from the proposed shop, we do not therefore need another betting shop.

Posted by Mari
Wednesday, September 21, 2005

They've applied to change shop front!

On the home page, I've just noticed that they've also applied to change the shop front completely, and to have a jutting out Ladbrokes sign. Jenny - I don't suppose you know some good wording for objecting to those things do you?

I can't believe that there's actually a chance this might be granted! It's so out of character for Hebden.

Posted by Dave Boardman
Friday, September 23, 2005

This link here will take you to the NEF clone towns report on the standardisation of our town centres. It also indicates ways of opposing cloning through planning legislation. Councillors please take note and act, others need to support our councillors who do oppose the arrival of big chains (PS we have a betting shop, which will inevitably close if Ladbrokes arrive, so trades have to oppose this to)

Posted by Matt
Friday, September 23, 2005

One key point of opposition to the Ladbrokes application is that if this is granted, there is likely to be a 'pack of cards' effect. How long before we have a high street with Starbucks, KFC and Dixons replacing the local colourful shops we have now? And for those who think that is actually a good thing, go move to Milton Keynes.

Posted by Oscar
Sunday, September 25, 2005

According to the Hebden Bridge Times there were 123 objections and a petition of 100 signatures. With the population of Hebden Bridge being estimated at 13,100 (according to Calderdale Council) this represents an objection rate of 0.02%.

We can only hope that market forces triumph, and should Ladbrokes open in Hebden Bridge a boycott would ensure their imminent closure.

However, with 99.98% of the local population as potential customers I wouldn't bet on it!

Posted by Mari
Monday, September 26, 2005

But there wasn't much time to find out about the betting licence application and object to it. We've got a bit more time to object to the changes to the shop front, the ridiculous ramp (which will take up the whole width of the pavement, and which no-one in a wheelchair will be able to get onto), and the projecting sign. And there's a direct link on this website under Planning Watch to object to those things online.

Hopefully even if they get a betting licence the fact that they don't get to change the shop front will put them off - as I understand it they've leased the building for six months, and the sale will only go through after that.

Posted by Andrew Hall
Tuesday, September 27, 2005

I can't get as worked up about Ladbrokes coming into town as some people here seem to be. I find the stickers plastered over the former bank premises and tourist information centre far more offensive.

All that is being proposed for the site is for a national chain (Ladbrokes) to replace a international conglomerate (the Bank of Australia trading as the Yorkshire Bank). In other words, a smaller business is taking over the premises of a larger one - surely a step in the right direction.

I cannot accept the argument that, because there are primary schools nearby, the proposals are wrong. Are there genuine concerns that 7-year-olds are going to pop in on their way to or from school to put a pound each way on Blue Charm in the 3.40 at Haydock? Or that they might be accosted by the shameful and undesirable low life who frequent betting shops? I don't know if any of the objectors have ever been into a Ladbrokes branch, but they are certainly not sleazy back street fleapits full of chain smoking old men. They're actually -and ironically - quite like banks themselves!

Nor can I see a small branch of Ladbrokes leading to the moral demise of impressionable young people in Hebden Bridge. Betting is now so accessible to the majority of the population via television, the Internet, and many newspaper and grocery stores, that another one is not going to make much difference. And to say that Hebden Bridge already has a bookmaker is no argument. If Ladbrokes are prepared to put their money where their mouth is, then let them go ahead. If it's unviable then it will be they who are the losers; let's not worry too much about their profitability!

I can't understand why drivers are going to be distracted by the site any more than they were when there was a bank there. If this argument is used, then there should be no shops there at all. How about more luxury executive flats? Would that make you happy!

Being a former bank premises, the proposed Ladbrokes is probably most suited to a business dealing with large amounts of cash. As for the wheelchair ramp - if you look at the plans, it's a moveable ramp (ie it can be brough into use should someone need it).

And as for the concerns that Hebden Bridge may become a town full of clone shops, I agree, it would be a shame, but it of course would require the willingness of existing businesses to sell up. If they wish to do that, and to sell to the highest bidder, what right have we to deny them the best price for their premises? What right do we have to deny the competition that other towns enjoy? But of course, that is a whole different can of worms. All I am saying is that, in this specific case, one 'clone' business replacing another 'clone' business is really not the end of the world for Hebden Bridge.

Posted by Matt
Saturday, October 1, 2005

In response to Andrew's above message - "...all that is being proposed for the site is for a national chain (Ladbrokes) to replace a international conglomerate..."

Just for the sake of clarity, Ladbrokes is owned by the very international Hilton Group. Just think, much of the profit derived from the Hebden Bridge branch of Ladbrokes could end up in the Louis Vuitton handbag of the delightful Paris Hilton. A salivating thought indeed. Not.

Posted by Jenny
Monday, October 3, 2005

It could be said that the posters on the former tourist info. Centre and Yorkshire Bank buildings did the job of bringing the proposed betting license to the attention of the public - short term defacement of a building weighed against longterm 'defacement' of the town ? A matter of opinion, to be sure,and Andrew Hall and others are of course as entitled to their opinions as anyone. But the Licence Application notice was pretty small and might not have been noticed in time for those with objections to register their objections, had not whoever did the flyposting done it when they did.

Posted by Smettie
Thursday, October 6, 2005

Thankyou Andrew for posting valid comments. You are a breath of fresh air at long last!

It made me laugh out loud when people were complaining about another clone shop appearing, when, in fact, the betting shop will make a refreshing change from the coffee shop, deli shop, organic (?!) coffee shop, charity shop, coffee shop, book shop, coffee shop, jewellers, coffee shop etc etc we have on our main shopping streets at the moment.

My only objection to Ladbrokes would be the competition for the Cheethem St bookies, but then again, we live in a competetive economy, and may the best business be successful. It will be nice to see a comapny in HB with some real economic clout instead of all the little shops which struggle to make a living. After all, there are only so many organic lattes one can sell in order to make a living.

There are so many do-gooders in HB, and people are so afraid of change and a little competition. Maybe if they got proper jobs and stopped hugging trees, they could see how the introduction of big businesses could be beneficial to the growth of this (somewhat backward) town. And yes, I was born here and have lived here all my life - 23 long years.

And, finally, tell me again how a bookies is competition for a coffee shop?

Posted by Jenny
Tuesday, October 11, 2005

The License has not been granted, the hearing for this has been adjourned to a later date (because the court received so many objections) and anyone who wrote letters of ojbection will be informed in writing of the new date so that they can attend to object in person or as a group of objectors.

So if any people want to get together as a group and object to the Licence being granted this forum might be a good place to start?

Posted by Jim
Tuesday, October 11, 2005

I will be pleased to form part of an objecting party and so will most of my friends. We are all pleased that our letters were not a waste of time and I am sure we will do our best to be their (providing we can get time off from our "Proper Jobs").

I wonder if it would be possible to enlist the help of a local legal generous to help the cause? Does anybody know of one?

I would just like to take the opportunity to ask Smettie a few questions

1. Why do you stay in Hebden Bridge as you are obviously so disgruntled with the town's commercial make-up.

2. Could you provide me with a list of all the establishments serving organic Lattes, I am quite partial to them, but was un-aware they were so widely available.

3. How exactly do you imagine a Ladbrokes will help the economy of the town?

a) Will they be large scale employers?

b) Will they encourage money to come to the town from outside (maybe by increasing tourism)

c) Or maybe you are just presuming it would create jobs in the councils street cleaning department, they will definitely need to employ at least one extra sweeper to work on grand national day.

Hebden Bridge was on its economic knees a couple of decades ago, it is down to the hard work and creativity of local shop owners, artists and business people that has lifted Hebden Bridge to become one of the most appreciated small towns in the country. Would you really prefer to live in a typical clone town? Halifax perhaps? The property is slightly cheaper, they have a Ladbrokes, and plenty of coffee shops selling good old Nescafe, I am sure you would love it.

Posted by Mari
Monday, October 17, 2005

I'd love to form part of an objecting party too (assuming my un-real job will allow me time off!) I didn't actually make an objection to the original licence as I was away at the time - I just made ones to the planning applications. I've been told by the Magistrates' Court I can join in at this stage though.

Posted by Miv
Tuesday, October 18, 2005

I am amazed at the outcry one little shop is making. Please come down off your moral high horses and wake up.

I have lived in this area for many years now and I have found that many of my friends who visit are now no longer charmed by Hebden Bridge. There is a theme to their comments that the town has become dull and repetitive. Too many charity shops, coffee bars and book shops - every shop is the same as the two before it.

Hebden Bridge is trading on its reputation and nothing more. There really is nothing of interest in the town centre to draw in tourists, in fact it is more likely to push them away because of its dullness.

Posted by Andrew Hall
Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Well said Miv!

Anyone would think that Hebden Bridge is turning into some kind of museum, where everything has to be preserved just as it is.

One of the problems is that most people who have lived here for years have better things to do with their time, giving the newly-arrived trendy sociology lecturers (and others) free rein to shape the town as they want it. For most of us, life's too short! There are so many other far more worthwhile causes that we can divert our attention to.

That being said, here's the content of my letter to the magistrates:

"Dear Sirs

Proposed Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Licence for Ladbrokes at the former Yorkshire Bank premises in Hebden Bridge

I understand that a decision on the application for the above has been deferred.

I would like to give my support for this licence application. I do not believe that there are any genuine and valid grounds for refusing such an application.

There currently exists in Hebden Bridge one small bookmakers. Alternatives exist in Todmorden (4 miles away) and Halifax (7 miles). The objections I have heard to date include worries that Hebden Bridge is becoming a ‘clone’ town, that the licence will lead to increased anti-social behaviour in the town centre, that children are at risk (the risk being usually unspecified), that a betting shop will create more litter, that a betting shop will put tourists off visiting the town, and that a betting shop will distract drivers.

I believe that the only possible concern of the licensing committee with respect to this application is the possibility of increased social problems due to the availability of a new betting outlet. I believe this concern to be without foundation. Ladbrokes are a national firm with experience of managing ‘problem’ gambling. Their website includes sections on responsible gambling and under age gambling. They employ well-trained staff who are able to anticipate problems before they arise. Far from adding to any problem that may already exist in Hebden Bridge (and there is no evidence that Hebden Bridge has any problems associated with gambling), I believe that a branch of Ladbrokes could well provide a safe and responsible environment for the betting public of the Upper Calder Valley.

Unfortunately, there is an articulate and vociferous minority who may lead you to believe that new betting premises are undesirable in Hebden Bridge. You may well experience this at the next licensing committee meeting. However I urge you to consider this application on relevant and practical, rather than emotional grounds.

Yours faithfully"

Posted by Stephen McCulloch
Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Well thanks to Andrew and several others, I have just been steered to this site and I have read the usual moral indignation and nimby comments that apply to a large percentage of Hebden.

But please, get real-----I could understand constructive criticism from those who have visited the bookies in Cheetham Street (what an apt name!) but it is a throwback to the dark ages. Dirty, dingy full of dubious characters and a blot on the landscape (allegedly). Ladbrokes are professional operators, providing a smart respectable facility that many people wish or desire. Sorry if that offends the vociferous minority, but it does provide a respectable outlet to the tourism of Hebden Bridge.

Having been connected with the hospitality trade in H.B. I can only observe that the visitors/tourists/trippers et al who are usually drinkers, smokers and bon viveurs desire such a facility.

One which is not threatening.

As a meat eater I do not decry the vegetarian establishments, as a drinker I do not complain about dry premises, as a smoker I settle for the house instructions or go elsewhere. If I can take a tolerant attitude then why do all the self righteous want others to only follow their path.

Posted by Pat McCarthy
Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Most of us won't suffer personally from a betting shop being placed at the very heart of Hebden Bridge on full show. But there will be a percentage of people in our community who won't be able to handle it. For some people, the Town Centre Ladbrokes will result in financial ruin, legal problems, loss of career and family, or even suicide.

Gambling is a tax on the poor and the weak. As Bernard Shaw said: "Gambling promises the poor what property performs for the rich: something for nothing"

Where once people arriving in Hebden Bridge saw the Touurist Information Centre and Yorkshire Bank, they will now see Ladbrokes.What would this say about our town! I recently went back to a seaside town of my childhood, now completely taken over by amusement arcades. Don't let Hebden go this way.

Posted by Jack Rodgers
Thursday, October 20, 2005

No matter which arguments have been put forward for the opposition to the takeover of the former Yorkshire Bank premises, I can only take one seriously...

...The sign!

One major problem with Ladbrokes is that the sign on their shop front looks to have been designed by a graphics designer in the 1980s! This is also the case with at least two other Hebden Bridge establishments, notably Forbuoys and Spar. Am I the only one who sees this as the major (and perhaps only) problem?

I understand the resistance to national chain stores given the town's recent claim to fame, however many of us need to cut the crap about distractions to motorists, incitement of school children to gamble, increased volumes of litter, etc. etc.!!!!

Let's take a more mature approach to this problem and face the facts!

Also, I would like to hear suggestions as to what those objecting to the development of a Ladbrokes betting shop would like to see take over the Yorkshire Bank premises instead!!!!

Posted by Andrew Hall
Thursday, October 20, 2005

I'm not sure that I go along with Pat McCarthy's views.

Yes of course there may be problems, but heavens, if we tried to deny everything that put us at risk, there would be no pubs, no cars, no sports - in fact not much at all. Are the people in Hebden Bridge so much weaker-willed than those in other towns that they should be denied the perfectly legitimate choice to gamble or not to gamble?

Since I occasionally gamble, I must be one of the 'poor and weak' myself so therefore my view is probably not valid. I obviously need someone more intelligent than myself to tell me what I can and cannot do.

So hey ho hey ho! It's off to the Nanny State we go!

Posted by Jimmy
Tuesday, October 25, 2005

God, what a load of moaning old timers!

Hey Miv, really sorry to hear that your friends are shallow excitment junkies that need a Ladbrooks to smarten up their hollow lives. I never realised how dull Hebden is compared to everywhere else that has one!

Andrew, there are loads of important stuff in the world, but if you don't look after your own doorstep who else will eh? Hebden is not a museum nor will it ever get to the Haworth state because you shouldn't let it. Just cos some dont' want a Ladbrooks doesnt'mean they want another coffee shop, and what if they did - there's too many babies in HB but I don't tell folk to stop producing them! And what really gets to me is your attitude to new comers. Why can't folk who live here have a say, whether the've been here for 5 years or 50. And somehow I've never actually met a sociology lecturer in HB, not even a comedowner!

Stephen, Opps I'm a nimby! Sorry, I guess I give a sod about where I live. If you dont' then stay outa this issue. Oh, I never heard such a thing as a betting tourist! Do they really want to come to HB to bet? Surely Las Vagas or Blackpool would be more fun!

Posted by Jim
Wednesday, October 26, 2005

I agree John, the design of Ladbrokes shop fronts are abrasive to say the least. Its huge red plastic sign, with floor to ceiling windows containing vivid graphics and sporting images. In my opinion it will look totally out of character with the rest of the town.

It's a common problem with all high street gambling shops, they strive to have a prime location, which usually means a shop front. However, they have nothing to display in a shop front as they have nothing to sell apart from a method of rapidly transfer people's spare cash to the pockets of the owners of Ladbrokes and the Hilton group, with very little of it returning into the town's economy. Maybe I underestimate Ladbrokes social awareness, for example maybe they would give the unused window space to local schools for displaying children's artwork, or lease it to professional artists as a gallery space. I may be cynical but I can't see anything like that happening, unless of course the children's paintings were of horses and containing the Ladbrokes branding

It may be a fair point that some (although I imagine very few) of tourists to the town would use this facility, as they would a McDonalds or a Carphone Warehouse but all this would mean is they will spend less money in the towns other establishments. As part of the town's community do we want to condone this proposition that will take potential business takings away from locally owned businesses, And whether visitors use it or not, it most certainly won't be the fundamental reason people visit the town. Can you imagine "ooh I fancy a drive out today love. Where could we go? How about Hebden Bridge, they have got a lovely Ladbrokes." How ridiculous.

Unfortunately none of these points are valid reasons for objecting to a betting licence, which has been the main point of discussion. They could be reasons for objecting to the planning permission for the sign and the changes to the shop front. However, the date for objections has now past so that opportunity has gone. Although some of the reasons for objecting to the betting license may seem ridiculous to some they are the reasons that are considered when the courts make a decision. Unfortunately, the fact that the company has no taste when designing its shop fronts has absolutely no bearing on there decision to provide a betting licence. So in order to avoid THE SIGN!!! objections need to be put forward with reason, that fit into the list of considered grounds for objections that are in Jennys posting.

It seems there are as many people pro Ladbrokes as apposed to it, which I admit is surprising. However, I still maintain that in my personal opinion a Ladbrokes, particularly in that location will have no positive effect on the town either economically, socially or aesthetically. However, I have only lived here 2 years so my views probably don't count to many of you.

With regard to what I would like to see in its place, hmm interesting one. For a start I would prefer that whoever uses the space is a local businessperson. I have had an idea for a shop myself that I'm sure would work really well in Hebden, and no there isn't one already. However for obvious reasons I'm not going to divulge that just in case I ever get some funding to do it. Off the top of my head I think we could still have improvements to the restaurants available in the town. As everyone is aware there is a wide choice of places to go through the day but less choice on an evening. A kite shop, a decorative homewares shop, a proper antiques shop, they used to be half the reason I would visit Hebden in previous years, but now there are none. This however raises the other problem, retail premises are already expensive in the town, for every big chain that moves in the costs of retail premises will rise, as it will encourage other chains to show interest. Large businesses like these will nearly always be able to outbid local businesses and thus it will force rents up.

Some of you might see this as progress and welcome it. And in my opinion you would be buffoons. Hebden Bridge is a lovely town with a good range of shops, everyone that visits us loves it and I am willing to do what I can to ensure that the face of the town isn't changed to something more normal!!!

However putting all the bickering to one side, there doesn't seem to be any formal discussions going on in preparation for a focused objection to the betting license. If anyone is aware of anything outside of this forum that is happening to formulate such an objection please let me know, as I would much rather spend my time helping that than arguing with "progress seeking", "lived here all my life", "anti tree hugging", Hebdenites on this forum.

Posted by Jenny
Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Jim, thanks for your posting - I was just going to post something similar.

Regarding a formal forum for objections:

I've been discussing this today with Nader, one of our Ward Councillors, and the upshot is that there will be a public meeting for objectors, date to be confirmed - it will be a couple of weeks or so before the Court Hearing for the licensing application (Court Hearing is 6th December).. there will be posters / leaflets and further web posting near the time. Meanwhile I'm going to meet with Nader next week and if any one would like to join us, I can be contacted at jenny.leason@fsmail.net

This does seem to be the thin end of the wedge: if big companies move into Hebden Bridge, the rate of change to the town will be accelerated. The front page of last Sunday's Observer carried a story about 'Drinks Giants' - as with all big companies, the drive is for maximum profit for the shareholders, and this is achieved by linking the 'bonus' part of staff wages to meeting targets set by the company, and it's no suprise to read that the targets are all about extracting maximum money from the punters. Ladbrokes is unlikely to be any different.

I've been sorry to see Hebden Bridge lose various interesting businesses over the 21 years I've lived here - Jones the newsagent (where Fourbuoys is now), the cobbler on Albert Street, Peter McCann the sewing machine mender on Market Street, to name a few. I've also been sorry to see us lose valuable community amenites such as Pitt Street Adult Education Centre - and glad to see that the public library developments might include exhibition space and room for educational facilities etc once more.

As for the gaps left by the shops we have lost over the years, personally, I think it would be better for the economy and the 'life' of the town if they were replaced by new small local businesses rather than for big companies to move in with their target-driven way of operating. Of course any business has to be profitable but there's a big difference between a local businessperson making a living, and the profits demanded by shareholders of large companies. Surely market forces will ensure that we don't have 'too many' cafe's or too many of anything - shops and businesses which aren't profitable won't last long, but at least they've given it a go.

Yes I know that whether or not we have a betting shop on our street corner isn't the greatest cause in the world! And yes I do want to do what I can to look after the little corner of the world I live in, and I still believe that this particular objection is worth pursuing. It's not something I've done much of, I'm not a 'professional objector', and I'm learning as I go along but I'm not sorry I'm doing it.

Posted by Tim
Friday, October 28, 2005

For every new Ladbrokes that opens up it's more money to fund the inane antics of Paris Hilton - the ultimate beneficiary of any profits made by this company. Personally I would prefer to see any number of 'George Galloway Organic Tree House Cafes' (to quote a recent letter in the HBT) spring up in Hebden where any money made is retained and respent in the Upper Calder Valley.

Posted by Andrew Hall
Monday, October 31, 2005


I think you'll find that this whole argument was instigated by the people who don't want a Ladbrokes in town. The 'moaning old timers' only want the town to be able to accommodate a broad rather than narrow range of views. This sometimes means accepting that we all should have a say in the way Hebden Bridge is developing. Is that so wrong, eh?

So no one wants another organic coffee shop, eh? (Sorry, I can't resist your 'eh's', Jimmy) One of the first contributions on this site said: "Other propositions were an organic restaurant, a charity shop and a another type of restaurant/cafe".

I really can't be bothered to delve into birth statistics for the area, as you must have done to say that there are too many babies in Hebden Bridge. I know I'm thick, but I can't quite equate this to having a Ladbrokes in town.

And as for a sociology lecturer - look no further than the host of this Hebden Bridge website (who has lived here longer than you and me combined). (One of us was, long before the www, in a different paradigm - webmaster)

My main message? Can we have a tolerant place where people listen and understand others' arguments rather than a place where, if it's not your scene, you dismiss it out of hand and oppose it?

Posted by Jim
Monday, October 31, 2005

Ok Andrew, here is a fairly straightforward request, would you mind listing the positive effects opening a Ladbrokes (bearing in mind its location) will have on the Town?

Posted by Andrew Hall
Monday, October 31, 2005

A Ladbrokes in HB will have the following positive effects:

1. It will provide employment. Fair enough, not generally high paid full-time employment, but probably better than waitressing in an organic cafe. See www.ladbrokes.com and follow the links to their job opportunities pages.

2. It will provide competition for the existing bookmaker in town. Many people who are currently unimpressed with existing facilities, and who bet over the Internet, may well be tempted back to visit town, and use Ladbrokes. Competition is usually seen as being beneficial to customers. and a successful Ladbrokes would ensure security of employment for its employees.

3. People who use the new facility may well be tempted to go into other shops whilst they're in town, benefitting other local businesses.

4. It will provide an outlet for tourists visiting the town. I know of people, who on a day out, still wish to pursue their betting interests. (You may say 'how sad!', but surely we're not here to make moral judgments on our fellow men and women). OK, it may not make them say,"Wow! A Ladbrokes! We'll have to come here again!", but then neither would a bank, a co-op, etc etc. It is simply providing an everyday facility that people may like to use.

5. Ladbrokes are very keen on responsible betting (see their website). Isn't it preferable that betting should be in the hands of a large, responsible company, in a prominent position in town than be seen as some slightly shady and risque back-street venture? Betting isn't a sin.

6. The only way to know if it will be good or bad for Hebden Bridge is to let it go ahead and evaluate the outcome. If it's profitable and provides employment and doesn't lead to the terminal decline of the town, then surely it must be positive. If it's not profitable, then it will close, presumably to the delight of all those who opposed it in the first place!

So there you have it, Jim! By allowing a Ladbrokes, you, and all the other opponents, are in a win/win situation!

Posted by Jim
Wednesday, November 2, 2005

Andrew, your points with responses:-

1. It will provide employment. Fair enough, not generally high paid full-time employment, but probably better than waitressing in an organic cafe. See www.ladbrokes.com and follow the links to their job opportunities pages.

All presumptions Andrew, do you really know the comparative rates of pay? Any business taking the premises would provide employment, and if anything other types of business would be likely to provide more employment. Whenever I have been in a Ladbrokes there are usually only one member of staff on the counter. So in terms of employment per m2 of retail space it probably as low as it could get, In actual fact cafes are usually fairly high employers per m2, take mooch for example, nearly always between 3 and 5 members of staff working, in what is a much smaller premises.

With regard to whether Ladbrokes are good employers, have a look here

2. It will provide competition for the existing bookmaker in town. Many people who are currently unimpressed with existing facilities, and who bet over the Internet, may well be tempted back to visit town, and use Ladbrokes. Competition is usually seen as being beneficial to customers. and a successful Ladbrokes would ensure security of employment for its employees.

Given the prominent position of the new Ladbrokes, it will indeed be competition for the existing bookmakers. Well im not going to make any un founded presumptions on how it will effect their business, I will speak to them and find out how they view the situation.

After a pleasant chat with Jack Pearson's main office, here are their views.

"We wanted to object to the licence application but were unable to, we don't believe there is enough business in hebden bridge for 2 betting shops, although we don't think it will force us to close we are estimating it would halve our business, so obviously our future in the town will be unsure. We are in the process of trying to get running water into the premises as this is the basis of what Ladbrokes are saying our premises are not suitable".

So Andrew, fair enough, Ladbrokes may provide stable jobs but at the expense of making other jobs in the town un-stable.

As to the comment of attracting people back into town to go to Ladbrokes, I think it is naive to say the least. Anyone who uses internet betting are not going to stop because they can now go to a Ladbrokes, they may use a Ladbrokes when they are in town anyway, but very much doubt they will make a special trip when they are used to betting in the comfort of there own homes.

I do most of my banking on-line, because its easier. If however a brand new bank opened in town, would I be likely to start to use it more? I'm afraid not, and that is why brand new banks are a rarity to say the least, indeed high street banks are constantly reducing their presence.

And Ladbrokes are not stupid, they know that people bet online and they provide a facility to do this, if they thought by opening a shop they would be just diverting money from there website to their shop they would not do it. It would simply not make economic sense, shops have much bigger overheads than websites.

3. People who use the new facility may well be tempted to go into other shops whilst they're in town, benefiting other local businesses.

This again is totally un-substantiated, the only way this could be true is if people come into town who would not usually, something that may happen but in a very small number of cases. The vast majority who will use the Ladbrokes will be people that used to go in Jack Pearson's and thus be in town anyway. With regard to punters spending money in other establishments, surely they would have less money to spend after an hour in Ladbrokes.

4. It will provide an outlet for tourists visiting the town. I know of people, who on a day out, still wish to pursue their betting interests. (You may say 'how sad!', but surely we're not here to make moral judgments on our fellow men and women). OK, it may not make them say," Wow! A Ladbrokes! We'll have to come here again!", but then neither would a bank, a co-op, etc etc. It is simply providing an everyday facility that people may like to use.

Yet again there is nothing to substantiate your claim, Hebden Bridge already gets lots of tourists, they come for what it has to offer now. And yes some of them may use it, I can't deny that will be a possibility. But unless it is a fundamental reason for them visiting the town you cannot claim it will have any economic benefit regarding the revenue from tourism. Again as I have already said what is much more likely to happen is visitors to the town will spend a proportion of their money there rather than in locally owned businesses thus extracting income from the town.

5. Ladbrokes are very keen on responsible betting (see their website). Isn't it preferable that betting should be in the hands of a large, responsible company, in a prominent position in town than be seen as some slightly shady and risque back-street venture? Betting isn't a sin.

How does that make any difference at all? Would they turn around and say to a punter, "Sorry sir you have already placed £50 worth of bets today, you should be spending your last £10 on some food." There may be lots of flannel on their website, but really are there any fundamental differences between any betting shop? For example do you think they will not put fruit machines in their premises? Machines that are termed in the industry as "The Crack Cocaine of Gambling".

One of my best friends admitted he is a compulsive gambler some years ago. I spent 4 years with him at university through which time everybody on the course knew he gambled and really thought he won lots of money. I spent many hours with him in a Ladbrokes, so I know full well how unpleasant their shops can be. In the cold light of day when he admitted this illness (his own term not mine) to himself he calculated he had lost in the region of 30 to 40 grand in the period he had been gambling. After a period of depression he is now living with his habit. He will always be a compulsive gambler but he manages it and has not placed a bet since. Now then Andrew, the majority of his money went to Ladbrokes, so how did their responsible betting policies help him?

And BTW, I'm far from being a religious man, but I think you will find that betting is a sin in many religions.

6. The only way to know if it will be good or bad for Hebden Bridge is to let it go ahead and evaluate the outcome. If it's profitable and provides employment and doesn't lead to the terminal decline of the town, then surely it must be positive. If it's not profitable, then it will close, presumably to the delight of all those who opposed it in the first place!

You're kind of missing the point here. I have no doubt that Ladbrokes will be a financial success; there are always people willing to chuck a bit of money away. But it still doesn't mean it will be a benefit to the town, and once they are open it will be impossible to get rid of them, even if the whole community realises, "Oh hang on a minute maybe this Ladbrokes wasn't a good idea after all" If Mc D's wanted to open next door do we just let them, or if Tesco wanted to open a metro store next to Oasis, or maybe a Toymaster opposite Silly Billys would we stand aside and let all this happen with the same attitude that if its not profitable they will close? I think not.

I also thought the objectors to this may like to read these from Camden:

Ladbrokes staff forced out of jobs by pay cuts

Objectors stage petition protest amid concern that young people will be encouraged to gamble

Apparently the Ladbrokes talked about in the first link have just been refused a betting licence, I am trying to find out more information and hopefully a contact for the residents group that apposed it.

And just another point about one of your earlier posts, where you dismissed concerns about its proximity in relation to local schools, I think you will find that pupils up to the age of 11 (you mentioned 7 year olds) are studying at Riverside, which is a stone's throw away.

Posted by Andrew Hall
Thursday, November 3, 2005

Interesting comments Jim. Perhaps, to your question 'what are the positive effects', I should have kept my answer simple and said 'it would provide employment', something that you agree with yourself.

What I don't think is a good idea on your part is your 'employment per square metre' argument. Are you an accountant? Do we really have to run a cost/benefit analysis on comparative businesses in Hebden Bridge? You actually run the risk of scoring an own goal here. I'm sure some of the organic cafes and other slightly off-beat businesses don't necessarily optimise their space, and could be far better utilised by other businesses. How do you quantify 'quirkiness' - something which Hebden Bridge sells itself by? It would be nice to be able to have a clinical and rational argument(maximising use of floor space, return on capital, profitability, p/e ratios etc etc), but, particularly in this town, it simply wouldn't work.

So Jack Pearson would like to object? Well, in the immortal words of Mandy Rice-Davis, they would, wouldn't they! I don't find that in the least bit surprising, do you? But it may provide them with the motivation to improve their own premises and services, which would be no bad thing.

As for attracting people back into the town, well all I can say is that it would happen. I'd do it, my colleagues would, as would many others I know and talk to. And rather than shopping in Morrisons, Tescos etc in Halifax as most of us do now, we may well be tempted to spend more locally. So no - my comments are not 'totally unsubstantiated'.

Yes, Ladbrokes have a website for betting, but why should you worry about them losing money on a shop premises as you seem to do? Let them take the risk and lose the money. However they must think it makes some 'economic sense' if they are prepared to go ahead. But please, Jim, don't lose sleep over their profits.

Re tourists, I can only reiterate Steve McCulloch's point, who as a very successful licensee of a local pub/hotel, knows far more about tourists' behaviour / preferences / activities in this town than I ever will. My comments only reflect his knowledge and direct experience.

Re Ladbroke's attitude to responsible betting - you take the naive view. I'm obviously far too trusting, but will refer your comments to Ladbrokes for a response.

As for other companies such as Tesco, Toymaster etc coming in to town, by your own yardstick, it's employment per square metre of retail space that should be the determining factor. I think if you really believed this, you'd have a very different Hebden Bridge to the one you see now. That's the 'own goal', by the way!

Oh, and are what will 11 year olds get up to in a betting shop? Your point is.....?

To be honest, I'm somewhat saddened by the intransigent stance of some of the newer arrivals in Hebden Bridge. Over the last 30+ years, one of the most endearing and important aspects of the town has been its tolerance to a wide range of attitudes, and a wonderful and refreshing liberal view of the world. It's why many people came, and still come here.

The Ladbrokes issue shows just how much the Hebden Bridge dream has changed. No longer is there tolerance towards people whose views and preferences you don't agree with. Anything that stands in the way of the town being pretty and quaint just isn't on. And people wonder why there is so much unrest amongst the 'indigenous'(for want of a better word) population!

There has to be give and take. That's the real Hebden Bridge way. Anything else, and we all risk losing the very thing that makes the town special.

Anyhow, I've seen enough of, and contributed more than my fair share to, this discussion topic. Time to move on I think.

Posted by Matt Bell
Thursday, November 3, 2005


Just before you exit stage left on this particular topic, I'd like to point something out. Hebden Bridge's "....tolerance to a wide range of attitudes, and a wonderful and refreshing liberal view of the world" does not, in my opinion, mean that the people who live here (whether indigenous or otherwise) should unquestioningly accept that a multinational multi-billion dollar gambling business can elbow its way into pride of place in the centre of town.

Quite the reverse.

The appeal of Hebden Bridge is, and has been for decades, that it does question and challenge things. Long may it continue.

Posted by A Gambler
Thursday, November 3, 2005

From the discussion you're having I can see that you may need a outsider's point of view and may be one which can shed a bit of light onto how gambling works and what it does to oneself as a person.

I think you'll find that every "regular" in any situation has a compulsion to whatever it is they are actually a "regular" at, whether it be drinking, gambling,, smoking or trains spotting for that matter!!!

My particular problem was gambling and I have been living with it for 22 years. I actually started when I was about 11, sneaking into scummy arcades who simply weren't bothered how old you were as long as they had your dosh from you. By the time I was old enough to go into a bookmakers, my habit had become so strong, that there wasn't a day which went passed that I wasn't either in there or the arcade.

Day after day, convinced that I would eventually "win it all back' , never actually materialised. In fact, the compulsion to "win it all back', became so strong after so many years, that I found I got more of a buzz out of losing than I did winning!! The buzz had turned itself around on me and become my life, because what would I have done if I had "won it all back'?? I'm sure that I wouldn't be writing this if that had been the case, that's for sure.

For a time, I even got a job working in a local bookmakers, behind the till. I wanted to see if it would change my perspective on my life make me see what it was all about and enable, seeing it through the eyes of the eyes of the people who were actually taking the money for a change. The simple answer is "no'. The little self-esteem I did have by now had been simply swept under the carpet for sure and actually made me feel worse, knowing that I was one of "those people'. And, as far as where you went to bet, being nice or not really didn't matter a stitch!!

The point you all seem to be missing is that a gambler doesn't go into a bookies which has the cleanest windows or the nicest signs or newest carpets. He/she goes in there for the best odds, which are obviously going to be found in the larger bookmakers, because they can afford to risk more. Apart from the odd fellow who has been going in the same bookies for 30 years, you'll find that the rest will make a bee line to the one which has the best. And I don't think that you find lots of unruly characters in all bookmakers. From my experience, yeh its where all the winos hung out and the occasional arse-hole, but there are many normal people, like me! and it certainly didn't matter which bookies it was, as I've said), simply the odds.

However, I kicked the habit for good about 6 years ago, but still have to live with the fact that I am a compulsive gambler who cannot control the habit once its has been kick-started. I have to live with that fact every day and would imagine that everybody in the same situation as myself suffer in the same way. Over the years it has got much better and I know, without doubt, that I will never gamble again, as long as I stay aware of the fact that the compulsion will never go away and be aware of the fact that "you simply cannot win, otherwise gambling would not exist".

Over the years I estimated that I lost about £30-£40000 and have a £28,000 pure debt to show for it. It will probably be with me for a few years to come as well, before I can finally say goodbye to it. It has changed me as a person, in my case has made me much stronger, but can also have the opposite effect.

I have a family of my own now and feel stronger than I ever have done in my life.

From my point of view, I would obviously not want to see a book makers in the proposed position, as (not for the fact that I couldn't stay out of it), but because I would be able to see all the other lost, unhappy and directionless "regulars' in there trying to "win it all back".

I know not everybody suffers in the same way as I have, but I can assure you, that you would never know if they were or not. Being able to lie is the first thing a gambler learns. I should know, I even convinced myself sometimes.

However as far as I can see:

1. It will generate a few jobs (maybe 4-6 part-time)

2. It will probably mean the closing of the other bookies after the regulars have finally died off in a couple of years.

3. It will create an eyesore at the traffic lights, which I personally am not in favour of seeing.

4. Will have better odds, with nicer carpets, for which the cliental, wont generally give a flying f***.

5. Will absolutely in no way generate extra spending in other areas of the town.

6. Will help in absolutely no way to the economy of HB, except for the odd the prawn sandwich a member of staff may buy from down the street.

7. In fact absolutely nothing!!!!

I suggest that you all sit down and decide what you want between yourselves. It's obvious that there are those who don't want it and have genuine concerns about the opening of a book makers there. And those who just like arguing.!!!! It's easy to criticise, but another matter to come up with a solution.

I have been to Hebden Bridge several times and I do like it, As with most small towns there are things that could be improved. I don't even know what improvements I would suggest. The only thing I am totally clear on is it certainly would not be a book-makers!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by Jim
Thursday, November 3, 2005

This has got absolutely nothing to do with being tolerant, this is about standing up and trying to make sure something you strongly disagree with does not happen. I don't make a general habit of this but have felt in the past that I really should have done. I never stood up and marched about the Iraq war, I wanted to but never made that extra leap of commitment to my own opinions.

I was going to spend time re-clarifying my arguments, but there is little point. On reading through your responses a second time, I realise you are just picking holes wherever you can and have not really responded to the main points I have argued. So I will not waste any more of my time.

If Ladbrokes open I may bump into you one day, tearing up slips. It will be a refreshing change for you from a life of working, shopping in Halifax's supermarkets and gambling online.

I look forward to seeing you around.

Posted by Richard
Friday, November 4, 2005

Just to say a Big thank you to the anonymous person "A Gambler".

They have obviously written from long and bitter personal experience.

It is contributions like this that make the debate worthwhile.

Perhaps someone would like to print out and copy it, and then offer it to passers-by at the ex-Yorkshire Bank?

Posted by Jim
Friday, November 4, 2005

Yes cheers gambling man, I contacted the friend that I mentioned in the above posting to ensure he didnt mind me using him as an example, and to check I had been factually correct. He felt strongly enough about this to write his own posting. Reading it has actually opened my eyes to how much it had effected his life and I have known him for nearly 10 years. I spoke to him yesterday and he found writing it down a positive and helpful process and is considering a much more detailed account (for his himself, not for this forum). He is a top bloke and a very lucky one, he has managed to pull himself out of this situation and moving into a healthy and positive life.

Posted by Elaine Connell
Friday, November 4, 2005

I was also very moved by A gambler's contribution. Long may you keep out of the arcades and the betting shops.

I am the daughter of a compulsive gambler who ultimately killed himself because of his addiction. Gambling wreaks havoc on so many other people's lives than that of the gambler himself.

I am not suggesting that because of these experiences we should shut down all betting shops, but what I believe we should avoid is making them more comfortable and almost glamorous places to go into, whether it's by the odds they're offering or the fact that they occupy a prominent, attractive town centre site.

At the moment, our bookies is a rather dismal place which you would have to search for unless you knew it was there. Putting a major bookmakers such as Ladbrokes in one of the most prime sites in the town might well encourage more people to gamble than do so already.

I agree with Richard that A gambler's posting should be printed out and distributed to people passing the proposed new Ladbrokes

Posted by Miv
Tuesday, November 8, 2005

And whilst we are at it lets move all the pubs and bars so that no body can see them and be encouraged to become an alcoholic. We could also move the Chemists so no one becomes addicted to pain killers, all the cafe's and sandwich shops so no one over eats and becomes obease, shut down Tobacconists to prevent smoking and hide all the petrol stations to prevent pollution.

Failing that we can let people be adults and make their own choices in life and choose whether they wish to gamble or not.

Talk about the nanny state!!!!

Posted by Thom
Tuesday, November 8, 2005

Having read through the discussion it seems the argument shouldnt be based on subjective opinions about the design of the logo, estimating employment levels, or the fact that it is close to schools.

It doesn't seem like the major issue is that of a multinational muscling in on a prime spot in Hebden - though it is worth thinking about whether we would be happy with the replacement of our unique locally owned and run shops (even if there is a homogeneity to some of them) with a Tesco Metro - or more likely the M&S food stores - and a Woolworths - Hebden is still one of those rare towns that you don't have to leave to do all your shopping and has avoided the Americanised K-Mart/WalMart out of town shopping park/ town centre graveyard. While in terms of our local economy it is extremely important that the profits stay within the area, I think there is a bigger argument.

The major issue which can be objected to is in the nature of the product being sold. There is already a gambling shop and ample opportunities to gamble online, the attraction of the location to Ladbrokes is that it will attract new gamblers.

The idea of sins is outdated and a bit ridiculous (I enjoy a nice bit of gluttony and lust myself) and it imposes a moral judgement - something which is again subjective and shouldn't be part of the argument.

What is undisputed is that gambling is highly addictive and dangerous leaving the gambler standing on their own taking a risk that has far flung consequences. The nature of the buzz of gambling is that you are risking what you haven't got, the chemical shift that gives you the 'high' also pushes your mental boundaries further back raising the risks higher and higher each time. No regular serial better ever gambles within comfortable limits because the risk is the buzz. The hobby gambler who puts a few quid on a couple of times a year for the National or Ascot knows he/she are going to lose. Which leads to the other undisputable fact which is that the punter never wins, even if they do score a big win, the pull is there to come back and do it again,or better it. Objecting to this isn't intolerant, its spotting a marketting scam designed at luring in fresh blood. Nor is it about being a nanny state - no - one is saying betting should be banned from Hebden.

I guess the question is do we want arguably the prime location in Hebden to be a magnet for people consistently losing money for a multinationals profit or more of a flagship shop that represents the town.

Posted by Oscar
Wednesday, November 9, 2005

You say above, "The major issue which can be objected to is in the nature of the product being sold."

Unfortunately, on the Calderdale Council web site in The Planning Application Process section it is stated:

"On the objector's side, arguments are often based on the following grounds, which are not valid planning issues. In such cases, officers will advise Councillors that such issues should not affect their decision" ... "moral objections, for instance against betting shops, lottery kiosks or amusement arcades;"

However, on the same page it also gives a number of valid (more subjective) points for raising objections.

Posted by Jim
Friday, November 4, 2005


We are not objecting to a planning application, we are objecting to their application for a betting license. Jenny's posting further up this discussion outlines the grounds for objection to such a licence.

It has been a cunning move by Ladbrokes to choose an old bank premises. By doing so they have avoided having to apply for change of use, which would have gone through the councils planning process.

The betting licence will be issued by the magistrates court, I dont even think the council need to okay the application.

I hope this clears that point up.

Posted by Jenny
Monday, November 14, 2005

Ladbrokes have now been granted planning permission for their signs and logos. I guess everyone who wrote obecting to these plans will have received the same letter as I did about that, last week.

The magistrates court hearing for their license application is Tuesday Dec 6th, as we know.

There will be a public meeting chaired bt local councillors on Thursday November 24th at Riverside School, Holme Street, Hebden Bridge at 7.30pm, (already advertized on hebweb).

This will be the best and last chance to get together a formal cohesive obection. If everyone who really obects to this attends to have their say, maybe we can still make a difference. If anyone can't be there, they can at least pass the word around about this meeting, write a letter to the Hebden Bridge Times, or give out a few leaflets?

Now that Hebden Bridge Business Association has put up a banner ( saying "Hebden Bridge - the best town for independent shops") on the old Tourist Information building right next door to the former Yorkshire Bank building, it seems even more ridiculous than ever that a Ladbrokes should open there - but it might and probably will unless we can stop it happening. My main obection personally is that it is the most prominent site in Hebden Bridge, as others have said. Nuff sed.

Posted by Jenny
Tuesday, November 15, 2005

If anyone is willing and able to stand in Hebden Bridge outside the old Yorkshire Bank building this Saturday - or any other busy time - giving out leaflets about the public meeting (a week on Thursday, Nov 24th, 7.30pm, Riverside School), please email me on I won't be in Hebden Bridge this weekend so I won't be able to do it myself this time.

Posted by Jenny
Thursday, November 17, 2005

Apologies, I was wrong about the planning permission, I've been told that they havent got planning permission yet and the hearing is scheduled for next Tuesday - local councillors will be putting an objection on conservation area grounds. Jenny

Posted by John Morrison
Friday, November 25, 2005

I'm a little confused about what people are actually protesting about. Is it the idea that a fatcat bookmaker might come to town... or that gamblintg is intrinsically bad?

Gambling seems a bit like boozing: a harmless recreation for 90% of the people who indulge - people who have a bit of spare cash to 'piss up the wall' - but a nightmare for those who become addicted. If gambling is so bad, why haven't people been protesting about the bookies in the aptly-named Cheetham Street?

This little town has changed - dramatically and often - over the last few generations. Everybody who comes to lives here wants to stop the clock: to ossify the place in the state they found it on the day they moved in. It's human nature to want things to stay the same, but it's still a losing battle.

See next page for Jenny's reply to John Morrison, and subsequent messages.