Plans to con­vert old toi­lets into gam­ing cen­tre backed

Ashbourne News Telegraph - - NEWS - By ED­DIE BISKNELL ed­[email protected]­

PLANS to turn a for­mer town cen­tre toi­let into an adult gam­ing cen­tre have been rec­om­mended for ap­proval, de­spite 79 ob­jec­tions be­ing re­ceived.

The pro­posal, by pizza chef Benny Morabbi, would see his con­verted toi­let block in Union Street filled with gam­bling ma­chines, which some say would en­cour­age gam­bling ad­dic­tion and have a neg­a­tive ef­fect on pass­ing school chil­dren.

Mr Morabbi ar­gues that the cen­tre would be closely con­trolled by staff to en­sure no un­der 18s are ad­mit­ted, and that gam­bling is al­ready an es­tab­lished in­dus­try in the town’s pubs and in a nearby book­mak­ers.

In a re­port to Der­byshire Dales District coun­cil’s plan­ning com­mit­tee, which will meet next week to dis­cuss the ap­pli­ca­tion, plan­ning of­fi­cer An­drew Stock points out that the ethics and mo­rals of an ap­pli­ca­tion are not plan­ning con­sid­er­a­tions, and will be sub­ject to li­cens­ing re­stric­tions.

He wrote: “The pro­posed use, al­beit sen­si­tive from a mo­ral per­spec­tive, is con­sid­ered to be a vi­able re-use of the va­cant ground floor premises within a de­fined Prin­ci­pal Town Cen­tre lo­ca­tion.

“The ap­pli­ca­tion rep­re­sents an op­por­tu­nity to re-use an oth­er­wise empty build­ing within the town cen­tre which would help im­prove the range of en­ter­tain­ment fa­cil­i­ties in the area, ad­ding to the over­all vi­a­bil­ity, vi­tal­ity and mixed uses within the town cen­tre.

“As such the change of use of the build­ing, in prin­ci­ple, is con­sid­ered to be ac­cept­able.”

The build­ing, which has been com­pletely al­tered with large win­dows fit­ted and a sec­ond storey built on, al­ready has con­sent to be used for “fi­nan­cial and pro­fes­sional ser­vices”.

But plan­ning com­mit­tee mem­bers will need to de­cide whether chang­ing its us­age clas­si­fi­ca­tion to al­low adult gam­ing is ac­cept­able.

Ob­jec­tors also sug­gest the cen­tre would be out of keep­ing with the town, in­ap­pro­pri­ate and could cre­ate park­ing is­sues at the busy junc­tion with Buxton Road.

How­ever, there were no ob­jec­tions re­ceived from Ash­bourne Town Coun­cil, Der­byshire County Coun­cil’s high­ways depart­ment, the coun­cil’s con­ser­va­tion of­fi­cer or an En­vi­ron­men­tal Health of­fi­cer, it was re­ported.

The ap­pli­ca­tion is due to be dis­cussed in pub­lic at the district coun­cil’s plan­ning com­mit­tee meet­ing on Tues­day, Jan­uary 15, from 6pm at The Venue in Wyas­ton Road.

Local democ­racy re­porter

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