Loan shop goes ahead despite opposition

CITIZENS Advice Bureau bosses have expressed their disappointment at a decision to allow a new credit shop to open.

The Money Shop opened in Castle Dene Shopping Centre, in Peterlee, much to the dismay of the nearby East Durham Citizen’s Advice Bureau (CAB).

CAB officers appeared in the Mail in December when a planning application for The Money Shop to take over the former Claire’s Accessories store was submitted to Durham County Council.

East Durham CAB chief executive Neil Bradbury had expressed concerns that the shop opening would add to people’s spiralling debt problems.

Durham County Council confirmed that the go-ahead was given last month and the shop is now trading.

Today Mr Bradbury said: “We are really disappointed at the decision because now the town centre is increasingly dominated by this kind of shops as opposed to retail shops.”

He blasted the interest rates of “pay-day” loans which offer a quick cash fix and added: “We are obviously concerned about the increasing numbers of people who come to us with ridiculously high levels of debt from the relatively small amounts borrowed.”

A Money Shop spokesman said the firm is a professional short-term lender fully regulated by the Office of Fair Trading.

The spokesman added that the company is a founder member of the Consumer Finance Association, abiding by its code of practice, and only offers payday loans to those with a bank account and with an income.

He added: “Payday loans are an essential service for those unable to secure finances from traditional lenders and can be a significantly cheaper alternative to an unauthorised bank overdraft or exceeding agreed limits on credit cards, ensuring that the costs of borrowing remain lower for the short term.”