Bets back on for Suffolk casino
FRESH proposals were submitted today for a £3.2 million project to create a major entertainments complex in Felixstowe – which will include a casino.A similar scheme for the Palace bingo and cinema building was withdrawn earlier this year before planners could decide it after the owners were shocked and upset at the number of objections to the venture.
FRESH proposals were submitted today for a £3.2 million project to create a major entertainments complex in Felixstowe – which will include a casino.
A similar scheme for the Palace bingo and cinema building was withdrawn earlier this year before planners could decide it after the owners were shocked and upset at the number of objections to the venture.
Although the new plans do not mention the word casino, managing director of owners Palatial Leisure, Patrick Duffy said it would in the future include such an attraction, which would not need planning permission only a gaming licence.
"At this stage, we have taken out the word casino because it caused people a lot of anxiety and it doesn't need planning permission," he said.
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"We are also still waiting for details from the government of de-regulation and what casino games a bingo hall will be allowed to operate.
"But if we do have a casino in the future, it will not be like those in London and will certainly not open until 4am – there would be no need for a venture of that kind in Felixstowe and our market is very different.
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"De-regulation of the gaming industry will mean Ipswich, Colchester, Bury St Edmunds and every town will have a casino.
"Our concern is that Felixstowe will be able to have one as well – not just to attract people to the resort, but more importantly to keep business here and stop people leaving the town to seek their entertainment elsewhere."
Architects had examined comments made by planners at Suffolk Coastal about the previous scheme and tried to address their concerns.
The scheme, to be phased, will include a 52-bedroom hotel, health and fitness club, bars, restaurant, as well as the bingo/entertainments complex. He said there would be a single-screen cinema, which could be adapted for conference use.
Planners recommended the project should be rejected because it would have a major impact on the life of families living in the town centre.
They were also unhappy with the design, described as overbearing and an overdevelopment of the site. The new plans have reduced the number of hotel bedrooms by five, and reduced its size.
Nearly 200 protests were received against a casino. People were worried it would lead to more late-night noise and disturbance, especially if it opened until the early hours, with more crime and less on-street parking for residents.
Mr Duffy accepted people's viewpoint but said their concerns were unfounded. The complex would be members only and not for casual users, it would harm the hotel if there was noise, and CCTV and a hotel in the town centre would help security and cut crime.
The council also received a petition of more than 160 signatures in favour of the scheme for the building at the junction of Crescent and Cobbold Roads.
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