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London: A Casino in the Neighbourhood?

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United Kingdom  Holiday Inn  Evening Standard  Chelsea Council  Gentings  Kensington and Chelsea  Genting Casinos  Thurloe Residents Association  Kensington and Chelsea Council  LRG Acquisitions Ltd.  casino applications 

London:  A Casino in the Neighbourhood?

By - Tuesday 17 February 2015

Would you like to have a Vegas-style gambling casino in your neighbourhood or for that matter on your street? This is the issue is being presented to the Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Council by gaming company Genting Casinos of Birmingham who have submitted proposals for a 30,000 square foot casino at the Holiday Inn hotel on Cromwell Road.

Not surprisingly, local residents are opposed to the plans as the Holiday Inn has private residences on three sides of its property. Thurloe Residents Association (TRA) is urging the council to reject the gaming company proposal, citing that there is 'bound to be a detrimental impact' and '…unruly behaviour associated with such establishments.' They also fear 24 hour noise and traffic issues will become commonplace thus disrupting the residential area, questioning the legality of the enterprise altogether.

The proposed casino would be a two-storey building adjacent to the hotel which is owned by LRG Acquisitions Ltd. with Genting Casinos as the operator.

Legality of proposals called into question by local residents

In its Kensington and Chelsea Today report Sir Anthony Coates, Councillor for Ashburn Gardens Courtfield Association stated:

"We don't think it's even a legal application, because of a bond agreed with the borough in 1971." The hotel owners agreed that, in exchange for replacing the original buildings that bounded two sides of Ashburn Gardens, the left over space would be part of Ashburn Gardens. Therefore, "it is covered," said Sir Anthony, "by the provisions of the London Garden Squares Act of 1931 so no building can be put there. Which is why we're pressing the Borough to refuse."

In recent comments in the Evening Standard newspaper, casino operator Gentings argues that the Mint Casino which is also located on Cromwell Road has not been a problem for residents nor has The Grovesnor casino which is already in the area and would be only 200 yards away from the proposed site. Two other casino applications were made in 2006 for the area but were denied by the council due to increased pedestrian and traffic issues.

Gentings to draw on extensive experience to ensure smooth operation

A Gentings spokesman counters by saying that their experience in the casino industry, (they have 40 casinos in the UK), would ensure that the operation of the casino which will be opened to the public with a high-quality restaurant and bar would be capable of managing the pedestrian and vehicle traffic. In order to prevent street parking a valet service would be utilised to keep the daily expected 1500 patrons indoors from the time they arrive until they depart.

"The gaming industry is one of the most highly regulated businesses in the world," it adds.

The Kensington and Chelsea Council will give their decision this March.

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