Express & Star

Gaming centre’s 24-hour bid fails amid crime fears for Walsall

A slot machine firm’s bid to have a new 24-hour licence has failed for the second time amid fears it will add to crime issues in Walsall town centre.

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The former Luda Walsall electronic bingo hall in Park Street, Walsall. PIC: Google Street View

Luxury Leisure wanted to overturn a restriction placed on its opening hours for a planned new adult gaming centre, based in a disused bingo hall, on Park Street.

They’d asked for a temporary 24-hour licence to be granted for a period of 12 months to allow their operation to be monitored.

But Walsall Council planning officers refused the proposal and said: “The proposed extended operating hours has the potential to give rise to an increase in crime, fear of crime and consequently likely detrimental impacts upon public safety.”

It’s the second time Luxury Leisure has failed to get permission for a 24-hour licence at the Park Street venue.

The company had originally applied to relocate from its current Bradford Street premises, which has a 24-hour licence, to the old Luda building with the same opening hours.

But chief superintendent Phil Dolby, of Walsall Police, made a late objection raising concerns about the impact it would have on the town centre which has suffered from fatal stabbings and violence recently.

Members of Walsall Council’s planning committee approved the opening of the premises but under the restricted hours of 10am to 2am at a meeting in February.

At the hearing, Luxury Leisure’s regional operations director James Sturgess said ‘they had never had any issues of antisocial behaviour there’.

He added their staff were highly trained and added no alcohol would be served on the premises.

But, while the company was supported by some members, the majority took on board the police concerns and restricted the hours.