Manchester

Casino by Didsbury high school approved

Plans for a casino in south Manchester that came under strong opposition have been approved by the city council.

A gambling licence and planning permission have been granted to Rank to build the casino on the site of a former bingo hall in Didsbury.

It neighbours Parrs Wood High School, where parents and local politicians have petitioned against the plans.

The licence will allow the casino to operate between noon and 0600.

It was granted on condition that security guards would be placed on its doors between 1500 and 0600 and that cameras operated in the car park.

'Professional company'

Rank was also ordered not to allow its signage to be placed opposite the high school.

The plans were opposed by a number of petitions and letters by many parents at the school, local councillors and the area's Liberal Democrat MP John Leech.

The building plans were passed despite recommendations to refuse by Manchester City Council planning officers.

Opposition campaigner Susie Bell said: "When the idea was mooted that the kids could go to the cinema while the parents go to the casino, then that just brings up visions of a Hogarth painting with the mother drinking away and the parents gambling away the money while the kids are left to struggle.

"There are going to be 1,500 kids walking past it twice a day"

Sue Price of Rank said: "The committee was satisfied that we are a professional, reputable company and they are confident that these conditions will be met and that this will allay the residents' concerns.

"We can assure that with our strict door control and the conditions that we've agreed to that the children from the school will be protected and noise levels will be kept low through the security that we will be providing."

The casino, which has been reported to cost up to £4m, is expected to create around 120 jobs.

Rank said it hoped the casino would open by early 2012.

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