Hundreds of people have signed a petition objecting against a slot machine arcade opening on Thornton Heath’s struggling High Street.
Luxury Leisure, a group which runs Admiral and Quicksilver ‘adult gaming’ centres has submitted a change of use planning application for the former HSBC bank, at 91 High Street which has been vacant for over two years.
The arcade would be within walking distance of four other gambling establishments – two William Hills, a Paddy Power and a Coral.
Thornton Heath Community Action Team submitted a petition to Croydon Council with 825 signatures gathered in just seven days – 126 were from people who signed a paper version of the petition outside Tesco.
The petition objects to the arcade as it says it will: increase anti social behaviour, target the most vulnerable in the community and further reduce the variety of shops on the High Street. The leisure centre opposite is also frequented by groups of primary age children attending swimming lessons.
The main objection to the application is that that the proposal is contrary to the Local Plan and therefore should be refused as it undermines the High Street’s vitality.
THCAT Chair Linda Watson, said: “Very sadly, our High Street has been ranked third on the 2018 Royal Society for Public Health’s list of the 10 unhealthiest London High Streets. Whilst we don’t want to see empty shops and we welcome employment opportunities for local people, THCAT is committed to helping our High Street becoming cleaner, greener and much healthier.”
James Commercial which is letting the £35,000 a year premises says in a supporting letter that it considers the adult gaming centre would ‘benefit and complement’ existing neighbouring uses.
Luxury Leisure says it enforces a ‘challenge 25’ policy and the arcade would provide around eight jobs.
A decision will be made before February 8. If it is refused under delegated powers it won’t go to planning committe