By David Shrimpton
Plans by Bass to build a £25m family entertainment centre near Kingston in Surrey have run into fierce opposition from local residents and restaurant owners.
The development, likely to be a Dave & Buster's, is on the site of former government offices in Tolworth. It would include bars, restaurants, video games, a 20-screen cinema and parking for more than 800 cars.
Bass submitted an outline planning application to Kingston council in March, but Tolworth residents are angry at the proposal.
Local woman Maureen Hall said: "I'm absolutely appalled. It's terrible for our area." She claimed the development would cause major disruption and lead to an unacceptable increase in traffic on an already congested stretch of the A3.
Chairman of the neighbourhood committee, Councillor Ian Reid, added that restaurants in the centre of Tolworth were particularly worried they would lose business.
The council is not expected to reach any decision on the planning application until the autumn as it is waiting for a report from the Highways Agency on the implications for traffic. If the council wants to grant planning permission to Bass, it would first have to seek the approval of environment secretary John Prescott, because the land has already been earmarked for new housing.
An exclusive franchise agreement between Bass and US-based Dave & Buster's was signed in 1995. The first UK site opened in Solihull, West Midlands, last year and a second is set to open in Bristol at the end of July.