Skip navigation

Gloucestershire Business News

Gambling chain wins final battle for Cheltenham site

The jangle of up to 60 slot machines will soon ring out in Cheltenham's town centre after a gambling chain overcame its final hurdle for the former Shoezone.

Councillors have approved an adult gaming centre licence for the premises at 218 High Street, despite concerns over crime nearby.

Bosses from Luxury Leisure can forge ahead with creating the centre under the Admiral brand. It will be open 9am to midnight during the week and 10am to 10pm at weekends.

Luxury Leisure is part of gambling giant Novomatic UK Ltd, which runs almost a quarter of the adult gaming centres (AGCs) across the UK, with 280 sites operating under the Admiral brand.

In February it won planning permission for the site on appeal.

Numerous businesses had objected to the plans as there are already nine similar venues in town and they lead to "deprivation in society".

Cheltenham Borough Council officers threw out the application but a planning inspector reversed the decision and said there was no evidence it would create problems with antisocial behaviour.

It then submitted a licensing application for the site, which has been vacant since Shoezone left in March 2022.

It came before councillors at a meeting of Cheltenham's licensing sub committee on Wednesday (June 5)

A representative of St Mathews and the Minster churches, which sit a few streets away from the site, raised concerns over crime in the area.

"In October 2023 there were 298 crimes, in November 283 crimes, December 335 crimes, January 317 crimes, February 292 crimes, March, the most recent, 341 crimes."

He said the area was already a hotspot for crime in the town and referenced a handbag theft at Christmas, a teenager beaten up and robbed in December 2022 and an armed robbery of a bookmaker in 2023, linked specifically to gambling.

He said the applicant's own paperwork stated "the area does have relatively high levels of crime" and that its statement that the crime risk created would be low was "perverse".

The applicant's representative said Admiral was a brand leader nationally.

"In all the time it has been trading under the current legislation there has never even been an application by anybody to review any of its premises.

"Some of those premises are in really difficult spots in the centre of Manchester, in Piccadilly, by hostels, in Kingsmith and Hammersmith by schools.

"In terms of the kinds of operators in the national market we stand, I respectfully submit, at the top. There really aren't any problems with these premises."

The police did not object to the application and neither did any other responsible bodies.

Council solicitor Vikki Fennell said the committee arrived at a unanimous decision to grant the licence as applied for with the mandatory conditions.

"The sub-committee saw no reason to refuse the application based on what the sub-committee has read and heard today," she said.

Related Articles

General election 2024  Image

General election 2024

Round-up of the latest general election news from around the county and across the UK.

Superdry creditors back restructuring plan Image

Superdry creditors back restructuring plan

Superdry creditors have voted overwhelmingly in favour of its restructuring plan.

EXCLUSIVE: Plans submitted for Podsmead regeneration Image

EXCLUSIVE: Plans submitted for Podsmead regeneration

The project includes 173 new affordable homes

Rundown Cheltenham shop to become a pub Image

Rundown Cheltenham shop to become a pub

Amber Taverns Limited has been granted a premises license for the site

Copyright 2024 Moose Partnership Ltd. All rights reserved. Reproduction of any content is strictly forbidden without prior permission.