Again- A Battle Over Casino

Published September 4, 2003 by OCR Editor

Again- A Battle Over Casino

UK A new battle about the planned opening of a casino started at Felixstowe town centre with campaigns launched both for and against the project.

The word casino is not mentioned in the application to transform the bingo hall and cinema into a £3.2 million "mini resort", but the owners have admitted it will contain one if government deregulation of the gaming industry allows.

Earlier phases of the scheme for the Palace in Crescent Road though will see a 52-bedroom hotel built ready for the casino's clients along with a health and fitness club, bars, restaurant, and a bingo/entertainments complex. Last time the scheme was withdrawn before it could be decided because owners Palatial Leisure were upset at the 200 protests sent to Suffolk Coastal council.

This time Felixstowe Town Centre Residents' Association is hoping there will be even more objections and has sent 1,000 leaflets to residents, shops and church leaders urging them to oppose the project. Association chairman Mary Wyatt said: "The bingo hall, currently much used, can as the promoter has admitted be changed into a casino without the need for a planning application.

"The opening hours for the casino will not be determined in this planning application so local people will have no control over what may happen. Casinos are permitted to open to 4am. Residents may be awoken by gamblers leaving late at night or in the early hours of the morning."

But many people are already expressing support for the project.
Felixstowe resident Lynda Keeble said: "The Palace bingo hall has great plans to bring some life to the town, yet to be opposed again. I strongly feel this would benefit Felixstowe and spice up the boring town we already live in."

Catherine Coone, of Garrison Lane, said: "I am a pensioner and I live alone so it is essential for me to have somewhere to go like the Palace. I can have lunch there at a very low cost and I meet people and have a good chat. I go there every afternoon, and I don't know what I would do if it closes."

Will Catherine have a place to have lunch and meet her friends? We'll keep you posted.

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