Gambling venue recommended for approval despite objections

A former Chinese takeaway could be turned into a 24-hour gambling shop despite concerns it could lead to an increase in anti-social behaviour in the area.

Council officers have recommended that Peterborough City’s planning committee approve Merkur Slots' plan for an adult gaming centre in Lincoln Road on Tuesday.

The application received dozens of objections from neighbours, and ward councillors, with one writing that he has "seriously concerns" about the number of similar shops in the area.

If approved, this would be a fourth gaming shop in the Lincoln Road area, and the second operated by Merkur Slots.

The area the shop is located in has been classed as a region of "medium to high risk" for crime by police. It is situated between Central ward and North ward.

The force said that over the past two years, 3,060 criminal incidents were recorded in the North ward including 1,191 reports of violence.

For the same period, 7,193 incidents were recorded for the Central ward including 312 incidents of rowdy nuisance.

Councillor Asim Mahmood wrote a formal objection against the plans and said "given the current situation of the area this does not represent a positive development and would further increase the likelihood of antisocial behaviour".

Councillor Mohammed Haseeb said he had "serious concerns" about the plans and that there was an "over concentration of gambling facilities" in the area.

Lots of residents wrote to the council about the application and one said: "We have too many gambling establishments already on Lincoln Road and do not require any more.

"These establishments do nothing to control their members who congregate outside smoking and talking which is quite intimidating for the general public."

Cambridge Police said it was aware of the local concerns regarding the potential increase in anti-social behaviour" but said "there is no evidence that these premises contribute to or cause any issues".

However it recommended that an "access control strategy be implemented during hours of darkness".

In response to the objections raised, Planning Potential on behalf of Merkur Slots said: “Whilst we acknowledge the concerns with regard to the potential effect of the proposed centre on local crime, public safety, and young people in particular, there is no evidence that demonstrates that the users of the adult gaming centre would inherently constitute a greater risk in this regard than other members of the public using Lincoln Road any time of the day.”

Planning officers have recommended that councillors approve the gaming centre at the committee meeting on Tuesday at 13:00 BST.

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