Plans to open a gambling venue in High Barnet have raised concerns about the potential impact on residents and the town centre.
Merkur Slots wants to open an adult games center in the former High Street TSB bank, part of a Grade 2 listed terrace.
The company, which has arcades across the UK, hopes to get permission for the arcade to operate 24 hours a day.
More than 500 people have written to Barnet Council opposing the plans. One opponent claims the center would “negatively impact the well-being of the most vulnerable in society”, while another writes that the venue would “encourage anti-social behavior and noise pollution”.
Other objections relate to the potential impact on existing businesses. One says it would ‘deter people from shopping in the high street’.
Another writes: “Unity should be better used to serve the whole community. Barnet High Street is a very sad place full of closed shops [and] adding an adult play center will not improve the area.
Merkur Slots claims that its machines offer low stakes ranging from 10 pence to a maximum of £2.
A report submitted as part of the town planning application file specifies that the envisaged 24-hour operation would not cause “any nuisance in terms of noise pollution and nuisance” and “would not have a harmful impact on the terrace classified”.
A Merkur Slots spokesperson said: “We look forward to potentially returning a vacant unit to commercial use, ensuring that it once again contributes to the local economy. The site will create new jobs and is a much-needed investment in high streets at a difficult time.
“Our Merkur Slots [gambling centres] are where people come to enjoy a game of bingo and their favorite pastime and we look forward to playing an active role in the local community.
The planning application can be viewed by visiting the council’s online planning portal and entering reference: 22/3158/FUL
The planning portal is available here: https://www.barnet.gov.uk/planning-and-building/planning/find-and-comment-planning-applications