Casino plan bosses give up on appeal - Wednesday 28th of May 2008

Casino bosses have withdrawn an appeal over a rejected plan to develop a gambling club in Central Reading.

The application by Stevco Limited to turn two Caversham Road shops – Dawsons and Land of Leather – into a casino was rejected by Reading Borough Council planners in November last year.

The licensing committee also turned down an application for a licence by Rank Group Gaming Division on behalf of Grosvenor Casino Limited on the same site.

Stevco lodged an appeal against the refusal which it has now withdrawn.

Councillor Tony Page, who told the planning committee at the time he had received “heaps” of complaints from neighbours opposing the plan, said: “I am very pleased about this and local residents will be too, I am sure.”

He said the council has already done a great deal of work in preparation for the planning appeal.

Cllr Page added: “I expect the applicants realised they were flogging a dead horse.”

He said he thought there might still be an appeal against the refusal of the licence but added: “They can’t go ahead without planning permission.”

One of the main causes for complaint about the plan was the likely impact of parking in residential streets in the area.

A spokeswoman for the planning applicants said: “We can confirm that Grosvenor Casinos has withdrawn its appeal for planning at the Caversham Road site in Reading.

“We are very disappointed that we are not able to proceed with the proposed development at this site, particularly since we were also unable to progress with our original plans to open a casino at Station Hill due to the redevelopment of the area.

“Not only would the development have created an additional leisure facility for the town but it would have created some 100 jobs. Unfortunately it was not possible to persuade council officials that the issues raised with regard to the operation of a casino at this site were misplaced and ill-founded and indeed were capable of being addressed given the rigorous regulatory controls over the operation of such premises under gambling legislation.

“The company will now work with the council to find an alternative site for the development of the casino.”

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