Three look at Marina Centre for casino
A BIDDING war for Great Yarmouth's large casino licence is expected to get under way in the autumn as the borough council invites applications. And the Mercury can reveal that three developers are interested in the Golden Mile site, which includes the Marina Centre.
A BIDDING war for Great Yarmouth's large casino licence is expected to get under way in the autumn as the borough council invites applications.
And the Mercury can reveal that three developers are interested in the Golden Mile site, which includes the Marina Centre.
However, none of those contenders was prepared to go on record with their plans at a meeting organised by the borough council on Monday. Council bosses explained what they were looking for in a multi-million pound development, tipped to bring massive regeneration and employment benefits to the borough.
News of Marina Centre site interest is likely to cause concern to the thousands of leisure centre users who fear the town could be left without a swimming pool and other facilities, if the winning licence is awarded to one of those contenders.
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Potential developers will have between three to six months to show their hand in the licensing process for the large casino, however it will be at least another year before the winner of the jackpot is known.
The council's managing director Richard Packham told developers the project could potentially be “the jewel in our crown”, adding the town was looking for something diverse and high quality.
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“This is a key stone in the arch of our tourism revival,” he said.
The time scale and licence application process was also explained during the meeting at Maritime House, Marine Parade. The council said it will advertise the licence in the gambling press around autumn, with a rough closing date of spring 2010. If there is more than one application the licence process will go into a second stage where the council will decide which application, if granted, is likely to bring the greatest benefit to the area.
Tim Howard, the borough council's head of regeneration, explained how he hoped the development would change Yarmouth's historical seasonal rise and fall of employment figures.
He said: “This is an opportunity which will not come round again. First and foremost it has to be an all-year-round attraction. We have to reduce the seasonality of employment.”
Plans already on the table include The Edge, a �35m development including bowling alley, multi-screen cinema and Apsers Casino, by Pleasure Beach boss Albert Jones, who wants to build the complex next to the outer harbour. And Patrick Duffy is planning a similar scheme around his existing Palace Casino in Yarmouth.