A casino's request to extend to 24-hours-a-day opening has attracted objection from a parish council.

Luxury Leisure has applied for planning permission for Admiral Casino on North Road, Durham to change its hours.

The City of Durham Parish Council has raised "serious concerns" over the proposals, which it says will turn the premises into "a 24/7 gambling centre".

The casino, or "adult gaming centre", has run since 1999 with current hours restricted to 9am to 10pm.

Now the leisure company has asked Durham County Council to vary planning conditions for the centre, relaxing restrictions "to facilitate 24-hour opening".

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Planner Andrew Darby from agents Lichfields said in a letter to the council that the proposal would not harm the area.

He said: "Given the condition was attached as part of the original permission issued in 1999, over 20 years ago, as well as the fact the unit has operated successfully and with no complaints in the intervening period, it is considered there is scope for an easing of these opening hour restrictions.

"This is particularly the case as town centres are increasingly evolving to focus more on leisure uses to help bolster their vitality and viability."

He said pubs and bars, convenience stores, a nightclub and a betting office already operated on the same road "beyond the historic restrictions imposed on our client".

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However the parish council is objecting to the application, saying it is "very concerned".

Councillor Victoria Ashfield, for Elvet and Gilesgate, said: “These types of premises usually generate a lot of noise and having this open every hour of every day is extremely worrying, particularly for the significant residential presence on North Road.

"Imagine the scene on North Road in the early hours of the morning as patrons of the licensed economy spill out after drinking up time and go into this premises for non-stop gambling. This is really appalling.

“We know all too well the harm which can be caused to residents affected by late night noise disturbance and the potential for such unrestricted trading to lead to the possible exploitation of intoxicated or vulnerable residents through the dangers of gambling.”

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The City of Durham Trust has also objected, saying: "Our concern is the adverse effect on the living conditions of local residents.

"We have identified 34 residential properties on the upper floors of premises in these two postcodes.

"We would not resist some relaxation in the closing time but feel it should align with the premises identified as nearby.

"This would ensure that there was no unacceptable impact upon the amenity of existing neighbouring residents."

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The company's agents said there were "noise sources which cannot be avoided" in the city centre but measures were taken to limit disturbance, like signs asking customers to leave quietly and a designated smoking area.

"The proposed use is not an activity that generates amplified sound or is known to be particularly noisy," said Mr Darby.

"It is unlikely that the proposed extension of the unit’s opening hours would result in significant numbers of new customers using the premises.

"These customers are generally single individuals, and the sites do not attract large groups of people."

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He said the company took crime prevention very seriously and already had "robust security measures and procedures" including CCTV, a "state-of-the-art" alarm system, access control, alcohol prohibition, a "Think 25" policy, staff on the shop floor and involvement in schemes like "shop watch".

"Additional security measures to facilitate a 24 hour period are not therefore considered necessary," Mr Darby added.

"There is no evidence that the unrestricted hours would directly result in crime or anti-social behaviour."

He said the company also took a responsible gambling approach with signage, employee training and offers of support and guidance to  customers.

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