National operator Luxury leisure has eyes on a prospective new location in Thornton Heath, aiming to bring business to a stretch of vacant high street.
Novomatic’s UK operational division Luxury Leisure is making a case to open up a new AGC under its Admiral Casino brand, this time in a vacant section of high street in Thornton Heath.
The company has employed London-based planning consultancy Lichfields to bolster its case to set up shop in the site of the Croydon suburb’s former HSBC bank, which has stood empty since July 2016. Combined with the (now vacant) former site of aWimpy outlet next door, and a derelict pub across the street, Lichfields has pressed to the council that the stretch of commercial real-estate has “a high proportion of vacant units…and evidently is in need of investment.”
James Commercial, which is advertising the property for an annual rent of £35,000, has also filed a letter of sup- port alongside Luxury’s bid to planners for approval of a change-of-use application, claiming the arcade would “benefit and complement” the surrounding area.
As the industry has come to expect in the current climate of post FOBT toxicity, gambling and unit vacancy will both face forensic cross- examination, especially by Croydon Council, which is itself still reeling from a recent report by the Royal Society for Public Health ruled Thornton Heath High Street the third unhealthiest of its kind in London: based on the high prevalence of bookmakers, fast-food restaurants and unoccupied shops.
Piqued by the fact that they’d only just come to the end of a £2.7m regeneration project in Thornton Heath, Croydon’s councillors rounded on the report’s findings, which council leader Tony Newman said were“ill informed and inaccurate.”
Still, with the council’s recent cash-injection into the community also came the pledge to “create ideal conditions for business investment,”whilst its own website promises residents that it is working to ensure that “empty or run-down properties will be brought back into use.”
While the report should have very little to do with Luxury’s proposition, the timing of their application will in itself serve as a veritable vote of confidence to Croydon council and their investment.
Lichfield’s advocacy on behalf of Luxury has been savvy enough to resonate directly with the council’s stated objectives.
“In respect of economic benefits,the proposed development will bring a vacant town centre unit back into active use and create direct jobs,” said consultants to the local planning committee. “Furthermore, the proposed use will attract expenditure within the town centre and footfall thus contributing to the broader leisure economy of Thornton Heath.”