MP fights to save bingo club

By James HoreAN MP has called on a council to scrap plans that he claimed would lead to the closure of a town's popular bingo club.Bob Russell, the Liberal Democrat MP for Colchester, said the future of the Gala Bingo club in the town's Osborne Street was under threat from the council plans.

By James Hore

AN MP has called on a council to scrap plans that he claimed would lead to the closure of a town's popular bingo club.

Bob Russell, the Liberal Democrat MP for Colchester, said the future of the Gala Bingo club in the town's Osborne Street was under threat from the council plans.

He claimed Colchester Borough Council needed the bingo club site to provide a new transport interchange to replace the Queen Street bus station, which will in turn become home to a new visual arts centre.


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Mr Russell said the Gala Club was now needed because earlier plans for the transport interchange were "hopelessly inadequate".

He added: "It looks very much as if things are being made up as they go along.

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"What is not in doubt is the driving force behind the proposals which would lead to the closure of the Gala Bingo Club - namely the need to find an alternative to the Queen Street Bus Station, which the council wants to make way for a publicly-funded visual arts facility costing £15million."

Mr Russell urged the council to "drop all proposals" that involved the bingo club's premises.

Bingo club manager, Steve Power, said: "Gala and its members are strongly opposed to the council's proposal to move Gala in favour of building a new bus garage.

"The club is the most successful entertainment business in Colchester with up to 6,000 visits a week at peak times. To dismiss this point would be injustice to Colchester's people."

John Jowers, the Conservative leader of the council, insisted there were no plans to shut the bingo club.

"The last thing we would want to do is have an impact on Gala and we have been speaking with them throughout the process," he added.

james.hore@eadt.co.uk

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