WOOD CALLS ON MP TO SUPPORT CASINO - Thursday 26th of July 2007

The second casino plan for Torbay is still troubling political opponents in the resort.

Lib-dem MP Adrian Sanders and his Conservative rival for the constituency seat in Parliament are taking different stances.Mr Sanders is still is calling for a referendum while opponent Marcus Wood wants unanimous support for the proposal.

Mr Wood has written to Mr Sanders asking him to back elected mayor Mr Byes drive for the second casino, but the MP insists there should be a test of public opinion first with a referendum.

Mr Sanders said: "Before the elected mayor introduced the idea of a second casino, there was a high degree of unanimity that the priority for economic regeneration was to move away from low value service economy employment.

"The conclusions of numerous studies and reports all argued that we should be diversifying our economic base towards high value, skilled, all-year-round jobs.

"The people of the Bay have yet to be presented with a convincing economic or social policy case to support the elected mayors wishes.

"On the contrary, all the evidence points to a second casino having no economic benefit for the people of the Bay while bringing with it serious social costs that will fall on the whole community.

"The mayors change of strategy has never been put before the electorate which is why I keep challenging him to use one of the powers Parliament has granted to elected mayors, the power to call a referendum.

"If our elected mayor is so convinced of his case that a second casino will be worth the increased gambling addiction, debt and crime that will come with it, why not put it to the vote?"

Mr Wood in a letter to Mr Sanders has pleaded with him to bury the hatchet over the Bays casino proposals.

Following criticisms by Mr Sanders of the Town Halls regeneration plans, Mr Wood has asked the MP to fall into line behind other Bay leaders and lend his full support to regeneration proposals.

Mr Wood says: "It is vital that we show a united front to win the backing of Government and the confidence of business leaders. They need to see that all of those in authority in Torbay support the mayor in his efforts.

"Undoubtedly Mr Sanders has a problem with some of the proposals being put forward, but I would be very surprised if Solomon himself could devise a plan that would please everyone in Torbay. The important thing is to see the bigger picture and move forward.

"Our MP has a duty to talk Torbay up; making public comments like Torbay will be more Monty Python than Monte Carlo was just silly and unhelpful."

In his letter to Mr Sanders he writes: "You have lost that argument both at national level and locally, where the public overwhelmingly supported the Conservatives last May, and you must now accept the will of the people and now get on with backing the local regeneration plans which will include a new casino."

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