A project for a controversial adult gaming centre situated in Ashbourne town centre is expected to be officially approved by competent authorities.
This week, the district council issued a report which recommends an approval to be given to an application from Benny Morabbi who has been aimed at turning the ground floor of the building into an adult gaming centre, offering slot and quiz machines. The stakes offered on the machines are set to vary from 5p to £1. The site, which in the post hosted the former Union Street toilet block, was purchased by Mr Morabbi for £100,000 in 2014 and since then has been planning to open the facility offering various gaming options.
Despite is has received about 80 letters from local residents campaigning against the project, the latest report of the district council includes recommendations that the application is given the green light.
The final decision of the Derbyshire Dales District Council planning committee on the proposed project is set to be made on January 15th, 2019.
For the time being, the chances for the project’s approval seem pretty high, with the district council officers having written in the report that many of the community’s concerns cannot be taken into account when making a decision on the matter. The members of the district council have explained that the project’s consideration does not cover any ethical or moral concerns related to gambling and possible gambling-related harm.
Many Local Residents Fear Possible Gambling-Related Harm
The members of the district council are not obliged to consider any moral perspectives of the proposed gaming facility, as they are supposed only to evaluate the viability of the project and the benefits that could be brought to the vacant ground floor premises at the location. According to them, the application filed by Mr Morabbi represents a valuable opportunity to see the property reused because such a business would help the town centre improve the existing range of entertainment facilities.
As mentioned above, many local residents have been opposed to the proposition, saying that it will encourage gambling and anti-social behaviour in the region. The campaigners have called the adult gaming centre project “inappropriate”, especially considering the fact that the building is situated on the route to a school.
Reverend Carollyn Macdonald, who is also among the project’s opponents, stated that she was against the plans because it was the community’s job to protect underage individuals from possible harm related to gambling.
However, the officers of the planning committee have explained that the possible negative impact associated with gambling can be controlled by special conditions such as restricted opening hours, for example. The new owner of the building also pledged that he would make sure that the adult gaming centre is staffed at all times, and strict security measures are imposed to guarantee that only responsible adult gamblers are allowed to enter the premises. Mr Morabbi has also promised to make regular contributions to the Shrovetide committee in case that its application is approved.