Plans to convert old toilets into gaming centre backed
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