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Decision due on adult gaming centre plan for Spalding shop

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An inspector will soon deliver the verdict on whether or not controversial plans for an adult gaming centre can go ahead.

Merkur Slots wants to open in the former Dorothy Perkins in Hall Place, Spalding.

The firm’s application was rejected by South Holland District Council but they have launched an appeal to try to overturn this.

A decision is due on the plans for the former Dorothy Perkins shop
A decision is due on the plans for the former Dorothy Perkins shop


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A spokesman for the Planning Inspectorate said the matter will not go to a public hearing - and will instead be settled by ‘written representations’.

The final comments are due by next Wednesday (May 11) - with a site visit planned for the week beginning May 23. A decision will then be issued as soon as possible after this - likely to be in late June.

Although the deadline is still open, both parties have submitted a written statement of their case.

Merkur Slots has argued that its centre - which would feature casino-style machines and bingo tablets - would bring a vacant shop back into use, attract footfall to the town and creat six to 12 jobs (12 if the centre is allowed to operate 24 hours a day).

It sent firm Planning Potential to Spalding last September to assess the town centre.

The firm noted that the vast majority of units were still used for shops and stated: “This application will complement the diverse mix of uses within the town centre and represents much-needed inward investment at a time when the economic environment is extremely challenging, with vacancy rates rising across town centres.

“No evidence was presented by the council to justify their perception that an adult gaming centre will have a detrimental impact on vitality and viability of the town centre. There is only one other adult gaming centre within the town centre whilst there are four betting shops.”

It adds: “Merkur Slots’ adult gaming centres are not seedy, tired and antiquated establishments and allowing the appeal would restore a functional use at the premises.

“It is currently a dead frontage given it is currently standing vacant.”

Its documents assert the only other interest in the former Dorothy Perkins store have come from a local tanning salon - and points to its other centres elsewhere as examples for Spalding.

The district council has stood by its rejection, arguing that the plan would have a ‘significant’ and impact on the ‘vitality’ of the town centre and ‘undermines’ the unit’s retail function.

It adds: “The locations cited in the appellant’s case are significantly different to the character and form of Spalding and to the specifics of this location and the premises (which is) the subject of this appeal.”

Merkur did win a licence for the shop - but cannot open unless it wins this appeal.

The plans sparked a large public backlash last year.

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