Bid for Braintree ‘adult play centre’ to appeal

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A CONTROVERSIAL bid to bring an “adult play center” to Braintree is about to go to appeal.

Braintree Council reviewed the application submitted by Merkur Slots UK this week.

The application is to change the use of Edinburgh’s old woolen mill on Bank Street to accommodate a new adult play centre.

The site has not been used since 2019.

The application indicates that the building would be used for slot machine games and electronic bingo tables.

The arcade would only be accessible to those over 18 but would be open 24 hours a day.

The promoters said the operation would still be supervised and there would be no sale or consumption of alcohol on the premises.

A report by Braintree Council planning officers recommended that the application be denied.

The main reasons for this were the “breaking of the commercial frontage established along Bank Street” and the visual impact of the signage.

But before the application could go to council on October 18, the developers filed a non-determination appeal after the recommendation.

This means that the council could not make a formal decision on the request, despite the vote rejecting the request.

Instead, the board’s decision will inform its position in the appeals process.

A statement on behalf of Merkur Slots by agent James Baker said: ‘The proposals will generate new local jobs, ensure the long-term viability of a commercial property and make a positive contribution to the evening economy.’

Councilor Andrew Hensman said people should not be encouraged to gamble in the current cost of living crisis.

“You’re going to chase that penny and you’ll never catch it,” he said.

“I’m not sure we want to encourage use in the wee hours.

“It’s a potential for antisocial behavior.

“This retailer appears to have many locations across the country and has had many denials and successful appeals to planning inspectors.”

Councilor Iona Parker added: ‘He thinks the planning policy position is clear. This is contrary to our local plan in the main commercial frontage area.

“This use is not a use permitted by our policy.”

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