Island rival challenges Blackpool’s casino ambitions with Stanley’s backing - Thursday 12th of May 2005

Stanley Casinos and The Island entertainment complex in St Anne’s on the Lancashire coast are in discussion to create a massive leisure centre that could be built before neighbouring Blackpool has realised its dream of becoming Britain’s primary gambling destination.

Currently the development has a small casino, cinema, family entertainments and restaurants all operating independently within the site. However, the proposed plans would see structural redevelopment of the whole area to create a unified centre, housing all the current attractions under one roof and providing access to them all from a central hub.Should the development go ahead, it would be completed before Blackpool has been able to take advantage of the relaxation of the government’s controls over gambling. Campaigners in Blackpool hope to take the lead in the development of the country’s first so-called super-casino and the town is hotly tipped to be the site of one of the test casinos that are to be built under Whitehall plans.

Nigel Lingings, director of The Island, said as well as the present development - which sees the cinema refurbished and re-equipped to take new film formats - a number of high street stores have expressed an interest in opening up in the St Anne’s site.He said: “There is space available on the site presently occupied by railway carriages for two large fast food restaurants and possibly a visitor attraction such as an aquarium. If all the planned changes take place The Island is set to become a leading landmark for family entertainment along the Fylde Coast.?

www.thestage.co.uk

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