The race to build the only large casino on England’s east coast will be stepped up later this week when a £35 million casino and leisure complex scheme comes before planners.
The project is backed in a report prepared by independent planning consultant Richard Wingate taken on by planners to avoid accusations of bias.
Ahead of Thursday’s Town Hall meeting, Yarmouth Pleasure Beach boss Albert Jones — whose company Pleasure and Leisure is spearheading the scheme — said approval would put him in pole position to clinch the town’s prized large casino licence.
The Yarmouth casino will be one of eight built across Britain under new gambling laws.
Despite speculation of other bidders, Jones even raised the possibility that in current financial conditions his project — The Edge — might be the only concrete plan.
If so, it would simplify and speed up the licensing process with an opening date as soon as 2012, he claimed.
Under the plan, the original proposal for a four-star, eight-floor 180-room hotel has been reduced to six floors and 138 rooms built above the casino and complimenting an eight-screen cinema, an 18-lane bowling alley, six restaurants and restaurant terraces, and parking for 832 cars.
English Heritage has expressed concern about the impact of the original hotel plan and local residents have raised fears about noise and nuisance.
But urban regeneration company 1st East and the East of England Development Agency both support the plans, and highway chiefs have only limited objections about extra traffic.