New gambling arcade plans slammed by protesters

NEW plans to double the number of fruit machines at the controversial Potters Bar gambling arcade have been slammed by residents and politicians alike. The owners of the soon-to-be adult gaming centre in Darkes Lane have submitted two new applications to

NEW plans to double the number of fruit machines at the controversial Potters Bar gambling arcade have been slammed by residents and politicians alike.

The owners of the soon-to-be adult gaming centre in Darkes Lane have submitted two new applications to Hertsmere Borough Council.

The first, to vary the existing licence it obtained after a hearing in February, would see the premises divided into two separate rooms.

The second, a fresh application for an adult gaming licence, would give the company permission to put the same number of slot machines in both rooms.

When the applicants Leisureworld first obtained the gaming licence in February, despite more than 500 complaints from residents and politicians, it was allowed only four high pay out machines with a �500 jackpot on the premises.

If the new applications are successful, that number is likely to be increased to eight.

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A spokeswoman for Hertsmere Borough Council said: "Leisureworld has applied to vary its existing license, and has also submitted a new application for an adult gaming license, which is the same license as the one they have already."

She confirmed that the company could effectively double the number of machines it was permitted under the original terms.

Councillor Ron Morris, chairman of the Potters Bar and Shenley planning committee, said: "To say the least, I am annoyed and somewhat upset.

"If they wanted two shops they should have asked for two shops when they first applied for a change of use to the unit.

"As a concerned councillor, I will be calling for the application to be heard before the planning committee."

And John Wainwright, of Churches Together Potters Bar, called the move "underhanded".

"I feel that the applicant is not concerned about the welfare of vulnerable people in our community," he said.

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