An application to open a slot machine arcade on Thornton Heath’s struggling High Street has been refused by Croydon Council after receiving almost 1,000 objections.

Luxury Leisure, a group which runs Admiral and Quicksilver ‘adult gaming’ centres submitted a change of use planning application for the former HSBC bank, at 91 High Street which has been vacant for over two years.

Thornton Heath Community Action Team submitted a petition to Croydon Council with 926  signatures gathered in just seven days – 126 were from people who signed a paper version of the petition outside Tesco. In addition 36 individuals objected directly on the council’s planning portal.

Residents objections included:

  • There are already sufficient gambling opportunities within Thornton Heath as the arcade would be within walking distance of four other gambling establishments –  two William Hills, a Paddy Power and a Coral.
  • The social impacts of gambling, and anti-social behaviour associated with it.
  • The proposal only creates poverty, in an already deprived area.
  • Increased risk of crime.
  • Concern that the site is close to Thornton Heath Leisure Centre, where children go and the proposal undermines the high street vitality.
  • Other uses would be better for regenerating the area, such as cafes, restaurants, soft play centres, community centres etc.

The main planning issues raised by the application was the impact of the development on: the vitality and viability of the District Shopping Centre, contrary to the revised Croydon Local Plan.

The officer’s gave the reasons for refusal as follows: 

  1. The applicant has failed to demonstrate that the proposed 24 hours use would not have an adverse impact on neighbouring properties from activity and coming and goings associated with the use during more sensitive night- time hours. The proposed development is contrary to DM 10.6 and DM 16 of the Croydon Local Plan (2018), the NPPF (2018) and London Plan (2016).
  2. The proposed change of use is contrary to policy DM 4.2 of Croydon Local Plan (2018) , and would reduce the range and number of A class use within the District Shopping Centre, which would reduce its function to local residents, and have an adverse impact on its vitality and long term viability.
  3. The proposed illumination of the yellow door surround and associated beacon like effect that it would create would cause harm to the appearance of the shopfront, property and surrounding area. It would form an uncharacteristic and alien feature of the district shopping centre that would unduly draw the eye, to the detriment of the street scene as a whole and to the local designated view. The proposed development does not comply with the Croydon Local Plan (2018), in particular policies DM11 and DM17.

The applicant has a right of appeal.

To read the full report: