Anybody know what one of these is? (And what other sorts of gaming centre are there? Teenage? Pre-school?) Not having a gambling gene in my body (all right, I have bought the occasional lottery ticket, and actually won ten quid once; and I drew Kauto Star three years running, from 2008, in the Boxing Day family sweepstake on the King George VI Chase, but that doesn’t really count), I’d imagined it would be some kind of amusement arcade, with fruit machines and pinball tables and suchlike. Turns out there’s been progress since those days. Things called Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs) allow you to stake up to £100 a go on a sort of electronic poker game, which lasts about twenty seconds, usually helps itself to your C, and invites you to have another try. Nice way to while away an evening, and your benefit cheque.
Anyway, it seems we are to get one, just up the Oxford Road. The site is a few doors from a charity drop-in centre catering for vulnerable people, which was obviously a plus factor in the developers’ choice of location. (That it’s also almost opposite the police community office may have escaped their notice, but that doesn’t really matter, it’s hardly ever open.)
Alan, whose role in life is to monitor planning applications and drum up opposition to them, informed us of this at our Neighbourhood Watch meeting the other evening. The original application had been unanimously thrown out on referral to the planning committee, but the developers of course appealed, and an anonymous Inspector in Bristol, who’d never been to the area let alone talked to the residents, rubber-stamped it. Our only recourse now would be to take it to the High Court, which I don’t think we could afford at about £12,000.