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Plans for city casino given green light by councillors

Photo Neil Cross Fives, Guildhall Street, Preston

Photo Neil Cross Fives, Guildhall Street, Preston

A bid to bring a casino to Preston has cleared its first hurdle after councillors gave plans the green light.

Members of Preston Council’s planning committee approved an application to turn the former Fives building in Guildhall Street into a high class gambling venue.

And councillors said they thought a casino would bring a more “cosmopolitan” atmosphere to the city.

Coun Brian Rollo, chair of the committee, described the application as a “different beast entirely” from Coral’s proposal to open a betting shop in Market Place.

He said: “This is a gambling establishment which probably would be beneficial to Preston city centre - it would bring a different clientele.

“Casinos aren’t allowed to sell alcohol - they can have an associated business that can sell alcohol but it has to be separate.

“The B2 machines can go in bookmakers and casinos - this place will be entitled to put B2 gambling machines in.

“But most casinos in the country don’t like B2 machines.”

This week’s meeting heard the planning application was “but a part of the process”, and Preston would first need to secure a casino licence, then a bidding process may need to take place if several premises were interested in having a casino licence.

Coun Drew Gale said: “I am quite supportive of the prospect of a casino.

“I think it would contribute greatly to the night time economy and bring a significant number of jobs.

“I am keen for the city to move away from the night time boozing culture - I think it needs something a bit more cosmopolitan.”

Coun Carl Crompton added: “It is a different atmosphere - people go out for the casino experience.

“I’m fully behind it and I think it will be a good thing for Preston and it will create a lot of top end jobs.”

Coun Elizabeth Atkins said: “In an ideal world I would get rid of all types of gambling, but it’s not an ideal world.

“I hope people will not be enticed in there off the street and I don’t think they will.”

The application by Edgar Wallace for a change of use was approved by a majority of committee members.

 

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