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Gaming machines centre allowed to open in Yate despite opposition from town leaders

Published on: 19 Dec 2017

A CONTROVERSIAL adult gaming centre can open in Yate Shopping Centre after both planning permission and a premises licence were granted.

South Gloucestershire Council’s licensing sub-committee said it had been a difficult decision to make and acknowledged concerns expressed by objectors.

But it said it had to take into account the lack of opposition by “responsible authorities”, including the police and the Safeguarding Children’s Board.

It also said conditions to be imposed would mitigate to some extent the concerns put forward. 

The proposal by Mirage Property Services - part of the Shipleys Amusement Centres group - is to use a former jewellers in North Walk as an adult-only centre.

The applicants said the premises would contain 35 gaming machines, with a maximum stake of £2 and pay-out of £500. The majority of machines would have either a £1 stake with a £100 pay-out or a 10 pence stake with £5 pay-out and there would be no fixed odds betting terminals on the premises.

Yate Town Council had opposed the plan, fearing vulnerable people could be drawn to gambling.

It said the unit was close to the Armadillo youth cafe, used after school and in the evening by secondary school students, and near a residential care home for people with learning and other disabilities, who often spent a considerable time in the shopping centre.

It also said Yate's food bank demonstrated the financial stress some local people were already facing, and that there were two designated areas of priority social need in the vicinity.

The applicants said they would operate only during the shopping centre opening hours, with at least two staff members on the premises at all times who would know the requirements for excluding under-18s and vulnerable people from using the premises.

Their offer to liaise with relevant, local community groups and organisations involved with the welfare of vulnerable adults and children was also attached to the permission as a condition of the licence.

South Gloucestershire planning officer Griff Bunce said in his report: “Concern has been raised by the town council that the development would have undesirable social consequences.

“The operators have a statutory duty to control access to the venue. It should not, therefore, fall within the remit of the local planning authority to enforce existing appropriate legislation.”

“The assessment from a planning perspective is whether the use is appropriate within a town centre.”

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