Residents fight £3.2m casino plan
PROTESTERS fighting moves to open a £3.2million casino in Felixstowe are stepping up their campaign.More than 1,300 letters have been delivered to households in the streets around the planned development, urging people to make their views known.
PROTESTERS fighting moves to open a £3.2million casino in Felixstowe are stepping up their campaign.
More than 1,300 letters have been delivered to households in the streets around the planned development, urging people to make their views known.
Campaigners say house prices in the area are already dropping.
They fear it could drive families out of the town centre after years of hard work to bring people back into the conservation area and rejuvenate many decaying homes.
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Details of the casino project have been with planners for five months - and it is hoped a decision will be made either this month or next.
Palatial Leisure wants to transform the cinema and bingo complex in Crescent Road into a three-storey "mini resort" featuring a single-screen cinema, conference centre, bingo hall and casino, restaurant, gym and 57-bed hotel.
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But Mary Wyatt, chairman of the Felixstowe Town Centre Residents' Association, fears it will cause immense harm to the town centre and generate late-night noise and problems - and would be better sited on the seafront.
She said: "I have been concerned that town councillors do not seem to feel there are any grounds on which this scheme can be turned down. But it quite plainly should not be in the town.
"Council policy says recreation and leisure and hotel developments should located away from the town centre and targeted on the seafront with the other similar activities.
"There are also several other policies which this project will be in breach of if it is allowed to happen.
"But our biggest concern is the overall effect it will have on the town centre.
"Hundreds of people live happily in the town centre today, many of them families - we have a vibrant community.
"They have worked really hard on their homes, repairing and restoring some of our best Edwardian and Victorian buildings.
"This casino could make people want to move out of the town centre again, which could have serious consequences for the conservation area."
The association questioned whether there was a need for another large hotel in the town when some were already not fully booked.
It was also against the casino opening until 4am, and while this was unlikely to get approval from planners even 2am could cause noise and other problems.
Palatial Leisure's managing director Patrick Duffy has denied that the complex would cause late-night problems or entice youngsters into gambling. No one under 18 would be allowed inside.
He said it would be "members only" and the company has strict rules on standards of behaviour, which forbid bad language.
He said it would make the town safer because it would bring people and activity and provide an economic boost.