High Barnet Labour councillors, Paul Edwards and Emma Whysall, have objected to a change of use planning application at 118 High Street, High Barnet, that would allow a Merkur Slots adult gaming centre to replace the bank that was previously there.

The councillors have objected on the grounds that there are concerns about the impact to the town centre vitality, concerns about anti-social behaviour, and also the safeguarding of vulnerable adults. Hundreds of residents have also submitted comments objecting to the application.

High Barnet councillor, Paul Edwards said: “Residents are concerned that a gambling outlet is detrimental to the modern Town Centre as a place for families, parents, grandparents, and children to go to shop, eat, drink and relax.

“The business model of this company seems to be to attract lone individuals as one of the planning documents from them states, “visitors tend to be individuals or couples”.

“My concern is that they will attract the most vulnerable lone residents and at a time of a 10% rise in the cost of living and a huge increase in mental health issues coming out of the pandemic, we need to protect our most vulnerable people who will seek solace in the hope of winning some extra cash.

“Once the precedent of allowing one outlet has been set it enables clusters of gambling outlets to flourish in the name of ‘healthy competition’

A copy of the planning application can be found here: 22/3158/FUL | Change of use of ground floor of vacant bank (Class E) to Adult Gaming Centre (Sui Generis) | 118 High Street Barnet EN5 5XQ

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