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Dear John Leech,
I am writing as a Minister of one of the local churches in the Didsbury area, which has hundreds of local members, to express my concern (and a number of other local people have already expressed their concern to me) at the proposed Casino development at the previous site of the Buckingham Bingo Club at the Parrswood Entertainment Centre.
I note from the correspondence I received through my door that the Rank group intend to put in an application to run a Casino, but before doing so are keen to receive feedback from local residents.
I note also various times of proposed exhibitions outlining the proposal and hope to get along to at least one of them in order to give my feedback. However having looked at the website already (being careful not to follow the link from the site to get my free £150 to gamble online) I have written to the Rank group, and to many other local faith group leaders and community influencers and I wanted to write and express my strong concern to you also at the earliest possible opportunity.
The only thing that I can see as a positive of this proposal is that Rank state it may create around 120 jobs. Their letter states that this is local jobs – though what ‘local’ means is a moot point when people could easily get to the venue from all around the M60 so really that’s regional.
I dispute what the Rank www.gcasinoparrswood.co.uk website says that “it will be for the benefit of the local community.” I strongly disagree!
There are no details of proposed opening times on the letter except to reassure us that it won’t be at busy times, perhaps that will be because such venues usually trade till 4am every night of the week? This would have significant impact on the locality in a number of ways not least noise and disturbance – with customers arriving and departing from the premises late into the night and early morning. A mixture of bar use and amusement arcade-type machines would exacerbate that noise and disturbance in a residential area.
Aside from that I have deeper concerns in times of economic uncertainty and hardship for many people, (which the recent budget will do little to help alleviate and much to exacerbate) from a pastoral and social point of view.
While the website seeks to present a glamorous ‘young and trendy’ look to the casino lifestyle, having been a police officer for over ten years here in the city as well as now ministering here and in various parts of the country, the reality is that many of these businesses are glorified amusement arcades operating under the guise of a casino without roulette tables with £4,000 jackpot machines.
A Casino in our locality would be a constant temptation to any vulnerable person who is even remotely susceptible to gambling and could degenerate from an innocent flutter to being a hardened gambler. In my ministry I have seen the devastating affect that has on families and other relationships.
While of course there are such facilities available in the city centre of Manchester I believe the council should be thinking about the protection of the young and vulnerable in our town and recommend that this new casino should not be located there, with students from the local high school going past constantly, I am writing to my local MP today also in that regard.
My experience is that the Gambling industry leveraging opportunities for more gambling only leads to more gamblers and therefore more debt and hardship.
I intend to use whatever influence I have to encourage others to feedback to the Rank group that we do not want this proposal to go forward here in the Didsbury area and so from my perspective this is firm NO to Parrswood CasiNO, I urge you to back this please.
I look forward to hearing your considered response,
Rev Anthony Delaney