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Last Updated: Thursday, 24 May 2007, 07:49 GMT 08:49 UK
Council to hold talks over casino
Bournemouth Pavilion (courtesy of freefoto.com)
The leisure complex would be developed alongside the Pavilion
A council is to enter into talks with a developer to redesign plans for a casino after a political row over the signing of the final deal.

Bournemouth Borough Council held an internal inquiry after the new Tory administration discovered the casino contract was signed on election day.

That report found councillors and officers had not done anything wrong.

The Tory leadership said it still did not support the scheme but breaking the contract would incur significant costs.

The new administration has inherited a scheme which it does not support
Council leader Stephen MacLoughlin

The council's cabinet decided on Wednesday to enter into discussions with the Trevor Osborne Property Group (TOPG) over the new leisure complex planned for next to the town's grade II listed Pavilion.

The final development agreement was signed under the previous Lib Dem leadership on 3 May - as voting was under way in what would be a landslide local election victory for the Tories.

Councillor Stephen MacLoughlin, leader of the council, said: "Many people have questioned whether the previous administration acted reasonably when they allowed the development agreement to be signed in the final days of an election campaign.

"However, we have been advised that no rules were broken.

Contract release

"The new administration has inherited a scheme which it does not support. However, the likely costs associated with breaking the contract are significant.

"Therefore, we have opened discussions with TOPG with a view to getting the proposals modified so that they are more acceptable."

He added that if talks were not successful, the council might still negotiate a release from the contract.

Developer Trevor Osborne said: "We are aware of local concerns about our proposals and we will respond positively to create a project which will gain public acceptance."




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