Casino hope lives on

Brierley Hill regeneration chiefs are still hopeful plans to bring a large gambling complex to town will get the go-ahead despite losing their bid to build Britain’s first super casino.

BHRP (Brierley Hill Regeneration Partnership) bosses had hoped to win the right to build a Las Vegas-style betting haven at Merry Hill to help create thousands of jobs and breathe new life into the borough.

But the Casino Advisory Panel last week dashed their hopes.

However, the Brierley Hill bid has made it onto the shortlist of 31 contenders for either a large or small gambling complex.

Tom Slater, BHRP spokesman, said: „We’re disappointed about the regional bid, but delighted we’re still in with a chance of getting a large or small casino.

„We supported the council’s submission on the basis that a leisure development which included a regional or large casino offers a fantastic regeneration opportunity in terms of jobs, investment and a long-lasting boost to the local economy.

„We are convinced Dudley and the Black Country would benefit from such a major investment in Brierley Hill.“

Councillor Les Jones, Dudley’s cabinet member for economic regeneration, said: „It was extremely ambitious to think we would be considered because there is only going to be one and the argument would be there are plenty in the competition who would have stronger cases.

„I think our bid for the large casino will be successful.

„It is strong enough to easily host a large one.“

The Pedmore and Stourbridge East councillor said the casino application was not just about a gambling complex.

He said if council chiefs get the green light other leisure facilities including a theatre, a hotel, pubs and bars would also be in the pipeline.

The next move is for regeneration chiefs to come up with details for the final application for the large casino.

A final decision on bids will be announced by Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell by the end of the year.