CONTROVERSIAL plans to set up an adult gaming centre full of slot machines in Newbury town centre have been given the green light.

West Berkshire Council has approved Cashino Limited’s planning application to convert the old bookmakers at 11-13 Market Place into a gaming centre called Merkur Slots.

The council’s licensing sub-committee has also approved the company’s application for a bingo premises licence.

That means it can operate electronic bingo machines as well as slot machines.

READ MORE: Plans to shut care home and move all residents during pandemic announced

In a written decision, the sub committee said objectors raised concerns about “what the future might hold” but did not provide “any evidence” to support claims that opening the gaming centre would lead to an increase in crime and disorder.

It also says the police do not have any concerns about the gaming centre and Cashino Limited is an “experienced national operator” that runs 170 gambling premises across the country which “rarely generate any issues of crime and disorder”.

A range of conditions have been imposed, including one which require the owners to “take reasonable steps to prevent nuisance directly outside the premises”.

Other conditions state that people who are drunk or on drugs must be turned away and at least two members of staff must be on duty between midnight and 6am.

The company wanted to operate a 24-hour gaming centre, but the council’s planning committee decided to restrict the hours.

READ MORE: 'We are hardly Las Vegas' - Newbury gambling centre plans approved

It has imposed a condition that requires the gaming centre to close at 3am on Saturday and Sunday mornings and shut at midnight on every other night of the week.

Cashino Gaming can appeal against that condition within six months.

Over 200 people have signed a petition that called for the planning application to be rejected and it states the gaming centre “will be a source of noise, crime and disorder”.