Published: August 4, 2011
Controversial gambling arcade seeks longer opening hours

The owner of a soon-to-open gambling arcade in Highbridge town centre has launched a formal appeal against a council ruling that restricts his opening hours.

As first reported by in June, businessman Mike Childs has won approval to convert the former Highbridge Ink tattoo shop in Market Street into a fruit machine and gaming arcade called Casino Slots.

However, while the application for a change of business use was granted by Sedgemoor District Council, the authority placed several conditions on the owner, one of which limited his 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 hours."

However, Mr Childs has submitted a formal appeal to the Planning Inspectorate to request that the opening hours can be extended later into the evening.

Burnham and Highbridge Town Council's Planning Applications Committee considered the appeal at its meeting on Wednesday evening (August 3rd) when it backed Sedgemoor District Council's restricted opening hours.

Cllr Helen Groves told "There are already anti-social behaviour issues in Market Street, so it would be be unwise to extend the evening opening hours at the moment until we see whether residents living near the arcade are affected."

Cllr Martin Cox added: "If the owner is responsible and does not attract many complaints then I would support reconsidering the opening hours in future."

Deputy Town Clerk Denise Emery said: "Members are keen to support new businesses starting in Highbridge, but they voted unanimously in favour of keeping the restricted hours. They said they would be willing to reconsider the hours if the applicant oversees the premises responsibly and there are no problems."

Pictured: Top, some of the residents who opposed the opening of the gambling arcade outide the shop in Market Street


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