Casino Slots wins appeal to extend its opening hours
controversial gambling arcade in the centre of Highbridge has
this week won its appeal against a council ruling that restricts
its opening hours.
Mike Childs, who runs Casino Slots in Market Street, told Burnham-On-Sea.com
on Thursday he is "very happy" with the Planning Inspectorate's
decision to overturn the district council's decision, allowing
him to open until 8pm.
first reported by Burnham-On-Sea.com
in June, Mr
Childs won approval to convert the former Highbridge Ink tattoo
shop in Market Street into a fruit machine and gaming arcade despite
opposition from local residents who feared the business could
increase anti-social behaviour.
However, while the application for a
change of business use was granted by Sedgemoor District
Council, the authority placed several conditions on the business,
one of which limited its opening hours to 9am-6pm on Mondays to
Saturdays and 10am-4pm on Sundays.
The council said the opening hours had been put in place "to
safeguard local residents from noise and disturbance during unsocial
But Mr Childs submitted a formal appeal to the Planning
Inspectorate to request that the opening hours be extended into
the evening until 8pm.
This week, the Planning Inspectorate's inspector, Rupert Grantham,
granted the extension after a lengthy review and a site visit.
Mr Grantham says in his report: "This is an area of mixed
use and it is evident that the restrictions, imposed on opening
times were expected to appease local residents. Nevertheless,
whilst some nearby businesses close at around 5.30pm, others stay
open until considerably later. As I saw from my visit to the area,
the betting shop which is just a few doors down stays open until
9.30pm, except on Sundays; the convenience store closes at 11pm;
and, on Tuesdays to Saturdays, the Italian restaurant remains
open until late."
suggests that this is an area of the town where the police are
working with the community to alleviate problems of anti-social
behaviour. Residents living close to the appeal site are already
concerned about youngsters who gather under the arch, next to
No. 2 Market Street, and who sometimes use the alleyway here as
part of a shortcut through to the estate behind."
"However, as the Council noted when considering the application,
it is not for them to enforce against anti-social behaviour through
a refusal of permission for the premises use as an amusement
He added: "Noise from the use itself is unlikely to be disturbing
to local residents and I see no reason to believe that allowing
the premises to stay open until 8pm, on Mondays to Saturdays,
is likely to result in increased noise outside, given the operating
times of other businesses nearby."
considerations suggest that the 6pm closing time, stipulated in
the disputed condition, is not necessary to protect local residents
against undue noise or disturbance."
I have found outweighs the main considerations that I have outlined
and, for the reasons given above, I conclude that the appeal should
succeed. I will vary the planning permission by deleting the disputed
condition and substituting another which reflects the opening
hours now sought by the appellant."
Mr Childs told Burnham-On-Sea.com: "I am very pleased about
this decision. We have very tight rules in place to limit access
and ensure there are no problems. The business has been well supported
in recent weeks and yesterday we even had a £1,000 winner."
Burnham and Highbridge Town Council's Planning Applications Committee
considered the appeal at its meeting in August when it backed
Sedgemoor District Council's restricted opening hours.
Pictured: Top, Staff at the newly opened arcade and, above,
some of the residents who opposed the opening of the arcade in