Albert Jones wins Great Yarmouth’s large casino licence

Plans to create hundreds of jobs in Great Yarmouth moved a step closer today after local businessman Albert Jones was victorious in his five-year battle for the town's large casino licence.

Mr Jones, who is the managing director of Pleasure and Leisure Corporation, which owns the town's Pleasure Beach, dedicated the successful bid to his late father, Jimmy, who died in March.

Great Yarmouth borough council licensing committee spent more than four hours considering applications from Mr Jones and Palace Bingo managing director, Patrick Duffy, before awarding the licence to Pleasure and Leisure.

The vision of the new casino complex, which is called The Edge, which will be built next to the outer harbour and will see an investment of more than �35m. Planning permission has been granted.

Mr Jones said: 'Pleasure and Leisure Corporation are delighted to have won the casino licence after more than 10 years of hard work.

'I would like to dedicate this success to my late father Jimmy who gave so much support throughout the long drawn out procedure. My thanks also to Karen Hawes of Hawes Price Ltd for her tireless efforts in helping to secure the licence.

'We hope that this will be the start of major investment in Great Yarmouth, create hundreds of full and part-time jobs and boost the local economy. If all goes to plan work should start on site before the end of the year.'

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Each bid was judged on a point-based criteria including the impact on regeneration and job creation to any negative effects on problem gambling. The detailed scoring saw Pleasure and Leisure being awarded 2,200 points and Palatial scooping 2,042 points and it is understood the panel followed procedures adopted in Newham, in East London, which decided its large casino operator last year.

Both candidates submitted proposals for 24 hour casinos in the town.

It was announced in 2007 that Yarmouth would be one of only eight locations nationally to have a new-style large casino.

Early interest from a number of companies died during the recession and the battle for the prized licence became a two horse race.

Mr Duffy planned to build a casino '30 to 40pc the size of London's O2 arena' on the site of his business, Palace Bingo, in Church Plain. His vision of the 3,000 sq ft complex included a casino, arena, multi-screen cinema, a hotel, shops and restaurants.

Chairman of the licensing committee, George Jermany, said: 'It was a straightforward, unanimous decision. It was reached fairly. It's good for the town and if you look at the government criteria for casinos, the first priority was that it must be beneficial to the town.

'It will be open all year round so employment will be improved. They will also use local suppliers so it will boost employment and that is what we need in Great Yarmouth.'

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