The location and shape of Great Yarmouth’s large casino development will be revealed when the operator is chosen by the borough council’s licensing committee on April 27.

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Amid the euphoria of the resort clinching one of eight prized large casino licences five years ago came speculation that there would be a wealth of contenders vying for it.

However, early interest from a number of large companies and consortia died away during the recession and it has come down to a choice of two local contenders: Pleasure Beach boss Albert Jones and Patrick Duffy, who owns the town’s existing Palace Casino.

Any ambition Yarmouth might once have had to build the first of the Monte Carlo-style gambling venues also swiftly faded away as Newham council in East London showed its determination to have it built in time for the 2012 Olympics.

By the time Yarmouth’s operator is unveiled, Newham’s Aspers casino –part of the huge shopping mall Westfield Stratford City – will have been running for five months. Two other venues, Hull and Solihull, have also pipped Yarmouth to naming their operator.

Yarmouth Labour councillor Mick Castle accused the council of “dragging its feet” in deciding the licence nearly two years later than its original programme had stated.

However, he said: “With neither Norwich or Cambridge going for a large casino licence, Yarmouth is still well placed to be the casino capital for the east of England.”

Charles Reynolds, cabinet member for tourism, said: “The process has taken a long time, but I do understand that there have been a lot of i’s to dot and t’s to cross. We have got two well-established local businessmen competing for this; we are getting to the end and the prospects look very exciting.”

The licensing committee will consider a report from a casino advisory panel which has been scrutinising both schemes to see which offers the greatest benefit to the town.

Mr Duffy wants to extend his existing casino in Church Plain to provide a 3,000ft floor space and up to 150 £4,000 jackpot gaming machines.

Speaking to the EDP last year, he pledged to spend about £5m in the first three years as phase one of a development of The Conge.

In the longer term, and subject to economic conditions, he said he would work to deliver a scheme that might include an arena and conference centre. Other elements of his scheme include a multi-screen cinema, a quality hotel, shops and restaurants.

The planning permission for Mr Jones’ scheme – called The Edge –incorporates a six-storey hotel, car parking, bowling, multiplex cinema, restaurants and bars next to the Pleasure Beach.

The prospect of a large casino has caused a mixed reaction from local business people.

18 comments

  • I`m not sure what the PC rules are on quoting a popular song title. So hence the outbreak of asterixes. Is "Travelling Man" ok, I wonder?

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    Mad Brewer

    Tuesday, March 27, 2012

  • Seen the bus station lately Mr Castle? Communist Russia at its worst could have done better, it is a disgrace and shaming when holidaymakers staying in the village resorts have to use it. Smelt the stink from the market lately Mr Castle-the whole lot needs stripping out and a good steam clean, same with the sewers below. Seen the state of the Rows-the buildings all neglected, weeds growing on the walls of what should be listed buildings? Seen the state of Divers Car Park and the old Row paths that lead to it? Seen how few shops are left in the town centre that actually sell new products? Maybe the council can't help the percentage of residents who have little to spend because they are unemployed or on low income or in seasonal work because they rely on the holiday industry, but they could try harder to make the town look and feel bright and clean. Stop with the silly town centre "events" and spend our council tax on day to day maintenance.

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    Daisy Roots

    Saturday, March 31, 2012

  • I suppose they will toss a coin to see who gets the go-ahead. Best of three perhaps.

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    JCW

    Tuesday, March 27, 2012

  • "However, early interest from a number of large companies and consortia died away"...... after they actually visited 'Great' Yarmouth!

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    Norfolk and Good

    Tuesday, March 27, 2012

  • It will bring some jobs to Great Yarmouth but once it is built who will be able to afford to go there in todays climate.

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    Dave

    Tuesday, March 27, 2012

  • Mick Castle should take the town managers by the scruff of the neck and clean the town up so that locals and visitors alike feel like they can venture into town and spend their money without recoiling at the grime, stink, tattiness and bird fouling. Even if a casino as a destination attracts a few extra coachloads of holiday makers a year they are not going to want to spend time in the town centre in its current state.

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    Daisy Roots

    Saturday, March 31, 2012

  • if Mr Jones wants to spend his money,,preharps he should spend more on the pleasure beach.Years ago it was a great place to go.Now it is half empty,and wants a good clear up.

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    jordan

    Tuesday, March 27, 2012

  • The pleasure beach is run down,uninspiring and filthy.That needs money spent on it if its not to choke off visitors rather than attract them.

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    kevin bacon

    Tuesday, March 27, 2012

  • As if we want another casino.We have 2 already.It would,nt work any way as people have not got that sort of money .looked what happen to the outer harbour.That has,nt worked and a waste of money.

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    jordan

    Tuesday, March 27, 2012

  • there are no jobs in yarmouth. there is no money in yarmouth, .so why oh why do we need another casino? its delusion of grandeur me thinks!

    Report this comment

    Gorlmouth

    Tuesday, March 27, 2012

  • The whole council should be out on their ears (or dipping into their own pockets) for throwing away money meant for the people of Great Yarmouth on stupid giant TV screens to indulge their mates with sea front businesses, for neglecting the decent old buildings in the town for donkeys years and pulling bits down ( the Jetty). I don't know anyone in the area who gives a monkey's about a casino,most people can't see how GY is ever going to attract more business than it does at present and are more concerned about year round, full wage "proper" jobs for the region.There are precious few facilities for townspeople-summer competition from a cinema at the Pleasure Beach would probably put a nail in the coffin of the Hollywood and GY would be left without an easily accessible open all year cinema.

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    Daisy Roots

    Saturday, March 31, 2012

  • Sounds like Castle is desperate to keep his seat in the May elections.

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    wes1975

    Wednesday, March 28, 2012

  • the area past the pleasure beach is completely the wrong place for this type of venue. miles from any anywhere next to a dirty industrial estate. as for the comments about it being a Monte Carlo style venue are a joke.we all know it will be full of track suits playing fruit machines. not very stylish at all.

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    timmy_two_sheds

    Tuesday, March 27, 2012

  • What does the study say on the increase in numbers of gambling addicts? What are the reasons for Gt. Yarmouth slow decision making process when other Towns are able to finalise their developments?

    Report this comment

    ingo wagenknecht

    Tuesday, March 27, 2012

  • Another money making scheme for the richer to get richer off the poorer.This will not increase footfall in Great Yarmouth at all as there are two existing casinos already.What the town really needs is a flourishing Outer Harbour with a thousand plus jobs,oh weve got one of those already....

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    wes1975

    Tuesday, March 27, 2012

  • I see all the usual suspects have clicked in fast to "rubbish" yet another new development for the local economy. Getting the Regional Casino for Yarmouth was very important achievement - my disappointment is that the Council has allowed the process to take long. It should have been up and running for 2012. It will howver create lots of jobs - and of course it won't just be another casino like the ones already in town - and one of the reasons it is in Yarmouth is because most other East Anglian large towns and cities are "nimby" when it comes to planning. It will be good for us as a holiday destination - broaden our appeal. We will never be going back to the heyday of 1960s and 70s bucket & spades holidays! We need new attractions.

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    Mick Castle

    Tuesday, March 27, 2012

  • If the state of the Pleasure Beach is anything to go by their offering will be pretty tawdry-visitors to Yarmouth must be disappointed to see what is such a bleak tatty place in comparison with many visitor attractions in other parts of the country. Plus a cinema there is only going to take custom away from the one cinema closer to the town centre which locals use all the year round. The Conge proposal will only be of any value to the town if it attracts viable shops and custom to the centre and regenerates the Market Place to river corridor-but any hotels will only take custom away from existing businesses. Do casino customers emerge to shop in charity shops and Poundstretcher? Sounds like it should be a least worst option decision.But surely no one really thinks the council will give permission to anyone other than Jones? Don't be silly.

    Report this comment

    Daisy Roots

    Tuesday, March 27, 2012

  • No wonder Yarmouth has got a gambling problem !. Why is there a photo of Jones ?. A bit of favrourtism from the EDP ?.

    Report this comment

    "V"

    Tuesday, March 27, 2012

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