Casino no longer on cards for Suffolk
SUFFOLK'S gamble to host the UK's first Las Vegas-style super-casino has been lost after its county town failed to make the shortlist.But while there was disappointment for Ipswich, Chelmsford remains in the running for a small casino after the independent Casino Advisory Panel announced its recommendations yesterday.
By Jonathan Barnes
SUFFOLK'S gamble to host the UK's first Las Vegas-style super-casino has been lost after its county town failed to make the shortlist.
But while there was disappointment for Ipswich, Chelmsford remains in the running for a small casino after the independent Casino Advisory Panel announced its recommendations yesterday.
Ipswich was one of 27 applicants bidding to host the super-casino, the only one of its kind that will be built in the UK and allowed to have up to 1,250 unlimited jackpot slot machines.
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But the advisory panel decided on a shortlist of venues that includes Blackpool, Wembley Stadium, the Millennium Dome, Cardiff, Manchester, Glasgow, Newcastle and Sheffield.
Chelmsford was named among 31 venues shortlisted for 16 smaller casinos to be built. Great Yarmouth and Thurrock were also included, while Ipswich again missed out.
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The applications were made under the terms of the new Gambling Act and final recommendations are expected before the end of the year.
The new super-casino is expected to bring a £500m boost to the economy of the successful applicant and attract more than 4,000 visitors a day.
Ipswich Borough Council said yesterday it had not yet received notification of the decision and could not comment.
But Chelmsford Borough Council, which hopes to build a small casino at the Great Leighs racecourse, said it was “very pleased” to be shortlisted.
Roy Whitehead, the council's leader, said: “This reflects the quality of the bid put together by our officers.
“However, there is still an extremely long way to go, including further rigorous examination before a final decision is made.
“This will allow members of the public to express their opinions on the proposals, whether of opposition or support.
“The borough council will arrange for these consultations to take place and details of these will be announced shortly. I would like to take this opportunity to restate that we have not applied to host the huge regional super-casino. Our preference is for one small casino.”
Professor Stephen Crow, chairman of the advisory panel, said: “I know that our decisions will cause disappointment to some, not least to authorities who had looked to their casino proposal as a means of alleviating severe problems of deprivation, or even improving social conditions and meeting the need for economic regeneration.
“But the competition has been very strong, and so it is inevitable that some proposals, good enough though they may be in themselves, have to yield before more powerfully justified cases.”
The shortlist for the eight large and eight small casinos is: Bath & North East Somerset, Bournemouth, Brighton, Canterbury, Chelmsford, Dartford, Dudley, Dumfries and Galloway, East Lindsey, Great Yarmouth, Hastings, Hull, Leeds, Leicester, Luton, Mansfield, Middlesbrough, Milton Keynes, Newham, NE Lincs, Peterborough, Restormel, Scarborough, Sefton, Solihull, Southampton, South Tyneside, Swansea, Thurrock, Torbay and Wolverhampton.