Gambling arcade given green light in Harlesden despite local opposition

New gambling arcade opens in Harlesden despite opposition. Picture: PA Images/Daniel Hambury

New gambling arcade opens in Harlesden despite opposition. Picture: PA Images/Daniel Hambury - Credit: PA ARCHIVE IMAGES

A new gambling arcade in Harlesden has been given a green light by Brent Council, despite local concerns that this could lead to increased anti-social behaviour.

Brent’s licensing commitee approved a premises licence for Silvertime Amusements, in Park Parade, at the site of a former bookmaker’s at a meeting on November 24.

The committee decided it was “appropriate” to grant the business permission after it had agreed upon a series of conditions with licensing officers from Brent Council and the Metropolitan Police.

This came despite opposition from several people close to the site.

Harlesden ward councillor Mili Patel suggested another arcade in the area – there is already a Silvertime in High Street, Harlesden – could attract street drinkers or “normalise gambling” among younger adults.

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She added the area is “already under enormous pressure” in terms of crime and disorder and that this could lead to further strains on police services.

She was supported by Margaret Cox, of Harlesden Neighbourhood Forum, who said the local community was firmly opposed to the proposals.

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“I don’t know anyone who lives close who is happy about it – we’ve had lots of problems with anti-social behaviour and there were always issues when it was a William Hill,” she said.

“We are trying to reduce the number of places in Harlesden that offer gambling.

“This is a residential neighbourhood, where it would not be suitable – we don’t want to go backwards.”

She added that a nearby school was also opposed to the plans, though no official representations had been put forward to the committee.

Paddy Wuhr, the solicitor representing the applicant, explained licensing conditions had been agreed between the police, council officers and his client, Edward Reed.

He added Mr Reed would be willing to work with the community and Cllr Patel to address any outstanding concerns they had.

Mr Wuhr noted Mr Reed’s experience as someone who already has eight sites across north London – including four in Brent – and runs a business that has been operating for decades.

He pointed out that Silvertime is verified by the Gambling Commission, while it offers extensive training to staff on how to manage any problematic situations, including to potential problem gamblers.

And he outlined the differences between gambling arcades and betting shops, notably a move towards more female visitors, roaming staff, smaller stakes, and a lack of fixed odds betting terminals.

The committee ultimately agreed that Mr Reed would be able to uphold conditions attached to the licence and noted the absence of objections from authorities.

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