Plans to open a gambling venue in High Barnet have sparked concerns over the potential impact on residents and the town centre.

Merkur Slots wants to open an adult gaming centre in the former TSB bank in High Street, which is part of a Grade 2-listed terrace.

The company, which owns gambling venues across the UK, hopes to obtain permission for the gaming centre to run 24 hours a day.

More than 500 people have written to Barnet Council to object to the plans. One opponent claims the centre would “impact negatively on the wellbeing of the most vulnerable in society”, while another writes that the venue would “encourage antisocial behaviour and noise pollution”.

Other objections focus on the potential impact on the existing businesses. One states that it would “discourage people from shopping in the high street.”

Another writes: “The unit should be put to better use which would serve the whole community. Barnet High Street is a very sad place full of closed shops [and] adding an adult gaming centre will not enhance the area.”

Merkur Slots says its machines offer low stakes ranging from 10p to a maximum of £2.

A report submitted as part of the planning application states that the proposed 24-hour operation would not “give rise to any harm in respect of noise and disturbance” and “would not have any harmful impact on the listed terrace”.

A Merkur Slots spokesperson said: “We are looking forward to potentially returning a vacant unit back to commercial use, ensuring it once again contributes to the local economy. The venue will create new jobs and represents much-needed high street investment at a challenging time.

“Our Merkur Slots [gambling centres] are where people come to enjoy a game of bingo and their favourite pastime and we look forward to playing an active role in the local community.”

The planning application can be viewed by visiting the council’s online planning portal and entering reference: 22/3158/FUL

The planning portal is available here: