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Sean Graham's Welcome for Court Decision

Belfast High Court refuses Ladbroke's Judicial Review action

LONDON, ENGLAND -- (Marketwired) -- 04/03/14 -- A High Court judge has rejected all aspects of a Judicial Review action by Ladbrokes against a Planning Service approval for the extension of a small independent bookmaker's outlet.

Sean Graham Bookmakers, which employs 150 staff across 30 outlets in Northern Ireland was granted planning approval to extend its outlet in Castle Street, Belfast. Counsel for Sean Graham had accused Ladbrokes of "seeking to delay, bully and frustrate this proposed investment for pure commercial reasons" and of "abusing the Judicial Review process".

Although the courts decision was previously announced, the written judgement has only now been released and at 22 pages will make difficult reading for Ladbrokes. Among the 5 grounds presented by the company was the argument that their action was in the interests of preserving the character of the Conservation Area. The judgement ruled firmly against Ladbrokes' arguments and indeed on a crucial point the judgement states that the PLC 'produced no authority to support their proposition'.

The judgement states that the Planning Service had 'formed a perfectly lawful and rational view about whether the developments will preserve or enhance the character of the area. The grant of permission is in accordance with applicable planning policies and the application (by Ladrokes) is dismissed.'

Whilst welcoming the decision Sean Graham General Manager Chris Deery said,

"We simply seek to provide a similar environment for our customers which Ladbrokes themselves provide for theirs across many cities in Britain and Ireland. The emphatic ruling means the High Court has clearly not been taken in by what we see as a cynical commercial approach.

"We estimate that the total expense to mount legal proceedings so far, will run into hundreds of thousands of pounds. We have already submitted a court application to recover our full costs from Ladbrokes."

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