Town Hall loses £50,000 in ‘super arcade’ appeal


[from Islington Tribune]

Islington Tribune – by ROISIN GADELRAB
Published: 1 February 2008
Town Hall loses £50,000 in ‘super arcade’ appealGaming company gets go-ahead for new centre despite opposition

A GAMING company has won a crown court appeal for a “super arcade” at Nag’s Head, leaving losers Islington Council to foot a hefty bill of costs.
Islington’s legal bill is expected to reach up to £50,000 after Leisureworld UK Ltd won an appeal at Wood Green Crown Court on Thursday against the council’s decision last May to refuse plans for an adult gaming centre on the site of the former Nag’s Head pub.
Housing chief Councillor Terry Stacy, who spoke in court against having another arcade in Finsbury Park, the sixth most deprived ward in the country, has branded the judge’s decision “a slap in the face for residents”.
A Town Hall spokesman has confirmed the council’s costs alone are £16,000, but this is expected to more than double when presented with Leisureworld’s bill, which will include the fee of leading planning barrister Richard Phillips QC.
The council has no plans to appeal against the decision.
The case had united teachers, councillors from all parties, residents and local businesses, who all opposed the plans through a campaign of letters and petitions.
Deputy leader Cllr Stacy said: “We are extremely disappointed with the decision.
“This is a slap in the face for local residents. We have fought this application as hard as possible, and we know the many local residents and businesses who also objected to it will share our disappointment.
“Our desire to help the local community improve the Nag’s Head remains as strong as ever.”
Islington’s licensing committee had refused permission for a number of reasons including the deprivation and poverty in Finsbury Park ward, crime and anti-social behaviour at the site, social responsibility towards vulnerable groups and the location of the premises, at the junction of Holloway Road and Seven Sisters Road.
Leisureworld promised the court it will install CCTV inside and outside the site, will have two staff permanently on the gaming centre floor and will place an approved door supervisor on duty.
The company also agreed to participate in the Nag’s Head Town Centre initiative’s radio scheme.

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