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6 March 2014, 11:03
A planned project to redevelop Southampton's Royal Pier could lead to a large casino being built in the city.
The City Council says it will start the process of granting a licence from 1 April.
Royal Pier is one of Southampton City Council’s seven VIP projects identified to improve the city centre. The upgrade of Royal Pier is now one step closer following the signing of the conditional development agreement by partners on 28 February 2014.
The plans to redevelop Royal Pier includes over 6,000 new jobs, over 500 homes, a hotel, and an enlarged Mayflower Park to provide a permanent home for Southampton International Boatshow. Part of the proposal also includes plans for the possibility of a large casino. As a result there will be a competition to grant the city’s large casino licence and stage one of this process will start on 1 April 2014.
Stage one of the licensing process involves applicants submitting prescribed information to demonstrate that they are fit to hold a large casino licence. Southampton City Council will then decide which applicants meet the statutory criteria and the relevant policies and guidance governing the grant of a large casino licence. These applicants will progress to stage two of the licensing process.
Stage two of the licensing process requires detailed consideration of each applicant’s proposal to determine which would offer the greatest benefit. This stage will only occur if there is more than one successful applicant at stage one. Stage two of the process utilises specialist advisors who will analyse applications and report to the Licensing Committee which will make the decision on which applicant should be awarded the large casino licence. It is anticipated that stage two of the process will commence in early Autumn 2014.
Councillor Simon Letts, Leader of the Council, said:
“I’m pleased to announce that the competition to grant a large casino licence will start on 1 April 2014. This is the last of the 8 licences available in the UK and I expect significant interest in light of this.
"We have previously advised that the Royal Pier development site offers the most obvious location but we would also welcome applications on other potential sites in the city. The key to any award is the significant regeneration benefits that the development will bring and without these I doubt a licence would be granted.
"Some concern has been raised over the potential for problem gambling to increase as a result, but as a crucial part of the process we will ensure significant measures are put in place to address this. We have agreed clear criteria which must be met on a variety of areas including problem gambling.
"The public and businesses that may be affected by any proposals will have an opportunity to comment on any applications as part of the discrete licensing process and additionally through the more usual planning process. It is anticipated that the award will not be made until next year.”
More information can be found at http://www.southampton.gov.uk/business/licensing/lgcsno/