Would You Bet £800 On A New Mega Casino?
Westminster Labour Group have again called on Westminster City Council to pull the plug on plans to redevelop Huguenot House which it owns near Leicester Square into a £100m casino complex.
Because that’s exactly what the Conservative Council have confirmed they’re planning with the redevelopment of Huguenot House’s flats and shops. The scheme would cost £100 million – equivalent to £800 from each household in Westminster – to demolish the building and replace it with a highrise mega-casino complex.
After recent talks confirmed the Council was still proceeding with its market testing of plans for this mega casino, Labour Group Leader Cllr Adam Hug has written to the Council’s Chief Executive and Director of Finance to argue that:
“it is our strong view that a casino would not be an appropriate use of Westminster Council-owned land. A casino could not only add to anti-social behaviour in the immediate area around Huguenot House but it would also set an extremely bad example for the Council to be providing further venues for gambling in this way.”
Following the Council’s £6.6m Marble Arch Mound debacle, there are real questions over the Council’s ability to manage such big capital projects and it is also a time of continuing uncertainty over the type of tourism needed to make such a casino commercially viable. However, irrespective of the commercial merits and practical challenges Labour believes it wrong for tax-payers money and council-owned land to be used to build a casino.
Cllr Adam Hug added:
“Not only would this proposed £100m mega casino risk adding to the anti-social behaviour in the local area it would send a damaging message to local people about the type of city want to be, rather than building a better future for Westminster that we desperately need.
Given the Council’s embarrassing failure to deliver value for money with the £6.6 million Marble Arch Mound there is no reason to trust Westminster Conservatives with this £100m high risk gamble with tax-payers money. This out of touch scheme is yet further proof that Westminster Conservatives have been in power for far too long and that it is time for a change.”