Casino plans await final go-ahead

THE man behind plans to build Suffolk's first casino will now have to wait for changes in Government legislation despite receiving local backing from the £1million project.

THE man behind plans to build Suffolk's first casino will now have to wait for changes in Government legislation despite receiving local backing from the £1million project.

Mildenhall Stadium owner Terry Waters faces a wait of up to two years to make his dream come true after Forest Heath District Council's planning committee gave the thumbs up on Wednesday night.

Mr Waters said: “I am very pleased but now I have to wait for legislation to change.

“The Government has said it wants to relax the laws and give priority for casinos to greyhound tracks which I obviously welcome.


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“I will now start getting ideas and draw up plans but I will have to wait for a year or two before building the casino.

“Having a casino is something I have always been interested in and I appreciate the support I have had from local people.”

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The Department for Culture, Media and Sport published plans for sweeping reforms of gambling laws in July 2001.

It was proposed to abolish the need for potential owners to prove there was a demand, allowing more areas the opportunity to set up a casino.

A spokesman said he hoped the gambling bill would be included in the next Parliament session between 2003/04.

He added: “We don't want casinos set up on every street corner but we do want to make them more accessible. We hope they will be the catalyst for regeneration in lots of areas.”

Plans to bring the bright lights of a casino to a sleepy part of Suffolk were announced by Mr Waters for land adjoining the stadium at Hayland Drove, West Row.

Mr Waters said he first became interested in building a casino around 25 years ago, but his plans at that time were impossible to realise because of the legislation he now describes as “archaic”.

He hopes the facility, earmarked for land between the stadium and existing access road, could provide up to three full-time and seven part-time jobs.

The stadium regularly attracts up to 2,000 people for speedway, banger racing and greyhound racing.

Mr Waters added: “At the moment, all the other events are going well and this will be something new for the area.

“The nearest casino I know is in Great Yarmouth and this is a long way to travel at night.

“I have wanted a casino all my life and I think there is a need for one in the area.”

Forest Heath's planning committee also approved an application for a disabled nature trail and car park at Cavenham Heath National Nature Reserve, Tuddenham, during Wednesday's meeting.

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