EXCLUSIVE: Fight continues over adult gaming centre plans for Cheltenham
By Laura Enfield | 21st August 2023
An appeal has been lodged over plans for a 24-hour gambling venue in Cheltenham.
Cheltenham Borough Council threw out the plans for the former ShoeZone building following a public backlash.
But applicant Luxury Leisure is now challenging the decision.
It wants to transform 218 High Street into an adult gaming centre with up to 60 slot machines.
It had applied for a change of use of the ground floor from a retail unit to an Adult Gaming Centre and first floor to associated storage and staff area.
Luxury Leisure, part of Novomatic UK Ltd, runs almost a quarter of the adult gaming centres (AGCs) across the UK, with 245 sites operating under the Admiral brand.
It said plans for the vacant shop, which has sat empty since March 2022, would contribute towards "town centre vitality and viability" and there was no evidence it would create a problem with gambling.
Horrified residents disagreed and said gambling centres are a "blight on the lives of people" which lead to "deprivation in society" and there was no need for another one in the Regency town, especially at a time of economic crisis.
More than 80 formal letters of objection were submitted to the council and businesses such as The Brewery Quarter, Cheltenham Chamber of Commerce, St James Action Group, MP Alex Chalk, local councillors, and the Minster church all spoke out against the proposals.
Council officers refused the application in May saying it would harm the vitality and appearance of the town centre and cause an unacceptable impact on residents due to noise.
At the time borough councillor Max Wilkinson, who had campaigned against the plans, welcomed news of the rejection but said we must "remain vigilant."
News of the appeal was revealed as part of council documents published for a meeting of the planning committee on August 17.
It said the appeal regarding planning application 23/00452/COU would be decided by delegated decision following written representations.
No determination date was given.
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