PLANS to open an adult gaming centre in a prime town centre site overlooking the main square have been met with more than 200 objections since this paper highlighted the scheme.

Barry Island Funfair and Symonds Yat Leisure Park owner Henry Danter has already been awarded a gaming licence for the former DS Music shop at the Monnow Street/Agincourt Square junction in Monmouth, as we reported.

But the 77-year-old showman still needs planning permission for a change of use to the building, which he says will boost the town centre.

While only three people objected to the gambling licence application for the 18 and over arcade, including Labour Senedd candidate Catrin Maby who lives near Newport, hundreds of town residents have now submitted comments to Monmouthshire County Council’s planning department, with the vast majority objecting.

Opponents claim it will encourage gambling and is an unsuitable use of the building so close to the historic Grade II listed Shire Hall.

Monmouth MP David Davies, who lives in the town, is among those raising concerns, telling planners: “I have been contacted by a number of constituents regarding an application to develop an adult gaming centre on Monnow Street.“I agree with several concerns about the location of the premises which is situated by a pinch-point in the town centre.

“As you may be aware, the adjacent street is already very narrow and would be potentially dangerous for pedestrians and road users if there were a large number of people entering and leaving the building.

“It has also been brought to my attention that the premises is in the vicinity of three secondary schools.

“While I note gambling is legal and is a fully regulated industry aimed at individuals over the age of 18 years old, there are concerns that the adult gaming centre would be highly visible to passing students and would lead to a potential uptake of gambling activities by young people in the area.

“As a Member of Parliament, I have no authority in the planning process and cannot influence any decisions being made.

“However, I would be grateful if you could respectfully consider the points above when determining the application.”

Another objector said: “The last thing a historic market town needs is an “adult amusement arcade”.

“It will be totally out-of-keeping with the town generally, and Agincourt Square in particular.

“It will also encourage the scourge of gambling.”

One said the proposal would be “a retrograde and damaging step” for the town centre.

“We need businesses who will create a better environment for all, this will only feed addiction and deter more positive enterprises,” they said.

One resident stormed: “Gaming outlets have their place but not in the middle of a historic town.”

Others have backed the scheme though, with local businessman Samuel Piqué Perry, who is the town’s Monmouth New Businesses Facebook page administrator, previously comparing the protests to like living in “Royston Vasey”.

“Simply the idea that people can read a newspaper article and suddenly make plans to try and shut down someone’s potential business venture before it’s even begun just fills me with all kinds of anger and sadness,” he said.

“It’s not big and it’s not clever, it’s small-minded, short-sighted and frankly, just plain mean.”

Mr Danter, who lives in Whitchurch three miles from the town, told licensing councillors that the King’s Head Wetherspoon pub next door had more slot machines than he would have, and no one under 21 would be admitted to the arcade, which will open from 10am to 10pm, seven days a week.

He said: “I’ve never had any issues with children under age because we run a very tight ship, we’re very knowledgeable and the staff are trained to a very high standard, so the worries they have about children are unfounded.

“It won’t happen, it hasn’t happened in the last 60 years, and it won’t start now.

“Sadly more and more shops are closing. There’s less and less business coming into the centre of the town to keep the pubs and various other businesses going.

“I think that this will be an asset to Monmouth… it will be well run, well organised… and will attract more people to the centre.”