Despite being “oversubscribed” with gambling venues, a new adult gaming centre will be coming to Dewsbury after a licence was granted by Kirklees Council today (30 January).
The premises at 23 Northgate will become one of 11 Royal Amusements that operate in various locations across West Yorkshire and Greater Manchester. The application for an Adult Gaming Centre Premises Licence was decided by the council’s Licensing Panel after objections were received from Dewsbury East’s three ward councillors.
One objection was later withdrawn after the applicant had put forward a series of conditions to address concerns. These included a number of CCTV cameras being installed to cover all areas where the public has access, signs to be displayed showing the no under 18s age policy and people under the influence of alcohol being allowed into the premises.
Leader of the council and ward councillor, Cllr Cathy Scott, still ‘strongly opposed’ the application. She wrote: “While acknowledging the merits outlined in the application, I must emphasise that Dewsbury town centre is already oversubscribed with gambling venues. As a local authority and as ward councillors, our primary focus is addressing the health, inequalities and vulnerabilities of residents.
“The proposed site is in close proximity to residents in Dewsbury town centre, and issuing another licence for this type of premises would be counterproductive to our ongoing efforts.
“Our town’s regeneration plan revolves around creating a family-oriented, safe environment. I am concerned that approving another gambling licence would not align with our blueprint and might compromise the crucial values we aim to instil in the community and impact on future investment.”
However, the applicant’s legal representative told the meeting that the objections presented no legal reason for refusal of the licence. He explained that gambling licences can’t be rejected due to moral or ethical reasons, a disliking of gambling or a perceived over-saturation of similar premises in the area.
The licence could only be turned down if there was evidence to show that the licensing objectives would not be met. These are as follows: preventing gambling from being a source of crime or disorder, being associated with crime or disorder, or being used to support crime; ensuring that gambling is conducted in a fair and open way; protecting children and other vulnerable persons from being harmed or exploited by gambling.
The applicant’s solicitor argued that in all the applicant’s almost four decades of operating similar sites in bigger towns and cities, he has never had a licence reviewed or revoked. He also highlighted that no licence reviews or revocations had occurred at existing Dewsbury venues where gambling is permitted, suggesting that licensing objectives are being met in the area.
In addition, no objections had been received from ‘responsible authorities’ like West Yorkshire Police.
Ultimately, the licence was granted with the conditions as proposed by the applicant.