Harlesden High Street in Harlesden, Greater London - C: Alamy
The planning committee for the west London borough of Brent has again thrown out a plan from Silvertime Amusements Limited that was to have seen the site of a former bookmakers transformed into a slot machine casino.
This is the third time the proposal for the district’s Harlesden neighborhood has been denied with the previous applications having been turned down due to ‘an over-concentration’ of slot machine casinos, pawnbrokers and pay-day loan shops. The area of around 17,000 people is already locally known as the ‘Las Vegas of London’ as it hosts six adult gaming centers from brands including Ladbrokes, William Hill and Paddy Power.
Silvertime Amusements Limited currently runs a pair of slot casinos in Harlesden but had been hoping the recent closure of a nearby pawnbrokers would finally clear the way for its plan to bring another to the central Park Parade thoroughfare. The proposal from the Harrow-headquartered operator was to have seen the site split into a sports betting shop and an adult gaming center featuring dozens of the latest machines.
Although planning officers had recommended this latest scheme from Silvertime Amusements Limited be approved, the local planning committee disagreed and rejected the proposal on Wednesday over similar ‘over-concentration’ concerns. A trio of the borough’s councillors in Matt Kelcher, Mili Patel and Jumbo Chan were moreover against the plan after organizing a demonstration against its possible approval in July.
Patel told the planning committee that Park Parade is already a hotspot for anti-social behaviour and the harms caused by the new slot machine casino situated less than 200 yards from Silvertime Amusements Limited’s other local sites would ‘massively outweighs the benefit’.
“Adult gaming centres prey on the vulnerable by offering multiple gambling opportunities to people with only a few coins in their pockets,” Patel said. “This goes against Brent’s policy to stop the over-concentration of gambling dens.”
In its application, Silvertime Amusements Limited had claimed its desired Park Parade enterprise would help to ‘broaden the evening economy’ of Harlesden with ‘no adverse impact on retailing activity’ or the character of the community’s central shopping area.
However, Kelcher proclaimed this latest decision will send ‘a clear message that Harlesden can have a bright future’ by attracting ‘independent cafes and shops’ rather than gambling enterprises that ‘prey on some of the most vulnerable in our society’
“We are delighted that the planning committee listened to the local community and rejected these plans, which would have led to an over-concentration of high street casinos in Harlesden and undermined the huge progress our local police have made in tackling anti-social behaviour in the area,” Kelcher said. “We hope the landlords will now seek new local tenants for the site who will contribute to this vision.”