Yarmouth's luck turns over casino plan

Yarmouth's luck took a turn for the better last night after the government said plans for a new casino in the town will go ahead - despite the prime minister's apparent moral qualms about gambling.

Yarmouth's luck took a turn for the better last night after the government said plans for a new casino in the town will go ahead - despite the prime minister's apparent moral qualms about gambling.

Just two days ago, town leaders had been pessimistic about the future

after Gordon Brown threw doubt

over the proposed casino - which carries the promise of 1,500 new jobs and a £40m-a-year economic boost to the town - by suggesting that other forms of regeneration would be preferable.

But the Department for Culture, Sport and Media (DCSM) clarified the government's position last night by saying that Mr Brown had only been talking about the supercasino at Manchester when he referred to a need for a period of reflection.

And as the first rocks were dumped on the beach at the site of Yarmouth's outer harbour, and work on the £19m Market Gates Shopping Centre expansion started, the outlook for the town looked bright again.

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Council leader Barry Coleman said: “It seems to be a different day, a different story at the moment. I am surprised the casino is back on as I was not too hopeful after Gordon Brown's announcement.

“We will make any decision when

we get something from the government in writing, but I wouldn't have thought our minds have changed,” he added.

And he said that with the Market Gates project and outer harbour started, the rest of the town's regeneration was forging ahead as planned.

“This is a very exciting time for Yarmouth. It has been a rocky road for the last several years with the outer harbour. We said since it got the go-ahead that it would move quickly,” he said.

The build-up of granite rock on the beach at South Denes was an historic moment and cause for celebration as it symbolically marked the start of work on the long-awaited outer harbour project.

Onlookers at South Denes watched the barge Charlie Rock discharge its first load of granite rock on to the beach, having transferred it from the mother barge Armour Rock, which had brought it from Sweden.

Yarmouth Port Company chief executive Eddie Freeman said the process would be repeated over the next few weeks as further barge loads of rock were brought from Sweden.

Mr Freeman said he was unable to give a timetable at this stage concerning when engineers would start work on the 1,400m breakwaters.

It is thought the harbour will be operational by the end of next year and the project could eventually create 1,000 jobs, as well as boosting tourism and regenerating a rundown area of the town.

£7.8m market gates contract - Page 27

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