Blackpool take it hard

After many predictions that Blackpool was the ideal location for the UK’s first supercasino, including a recommendation from the government think tank Centre for Cities, Blackpool has found it hard to accept it has been overlooked.

Officials at Blackpool had been very optimistic and, indeed, confident in their case. However, once the decision was announced, shock and bewilderment reigned.

"It's like someone very important has just died here," said John Barnett, chairman of the Blackpool Business Leaders' Group.

“We will not let this be the end of it. If it takes it, we will march to Downing Street and tell them this is not what the people want,” Barnett enthused.

That rousing sentiment, although borne out of disappointment, was echoed by Council leader Roy Fisher who said: "I'm very surprised and disappointed not only for me and the council but the people of Blackpool.”

“We believe we have got the best case. We believe we have still got the best case. We will press parliament to increase the number of super-casinos as we believe there should be more and one should be here.”

Blackpool has seen a stark fall in tourist visits over the last 15 years, seeing a drop in seven million visits over this period. It currently receives ten million tourist visits a year. This alarming fall has forced many businesses to move out of the area or even close up for good, leaving the town desperate for investment. It was hoped a supercasino would attract approximately £2.5 billion in investment to regenerate the area.

The Manchester supercasino is being used a test bed and if successful, may lead to more supercasinos being built around the country. That is something Blackpool may be hoping for. However, Tessa Jowell has claimed that no new supercasinos will be built until after the next general election.

Editor, - 2007-01-31 12:33:14

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