After opening John Lewis and there new stylish Bond Street, Chelmsford are at it again as they set to open an all-night casino, while additional plans for ten open-air concerts have also been approved. This will be the city’s first casino and the plans have been giving the green light by the Chelmsford City Council on the 6th of January with the racecourse set to launch it in a new five-floor grandstand building. Betfed, the racecourse’s majority stakeholder, has previously said the project will create more than 100 jobs. This is similar to the casino that recently opened up in Bournemouth, because of the multiplex casino; over 300 jobs became available causing a positive effect on the economy,
The casino will occupy one floor of around 3,000 square metres in the building, it is still being constructed but they have plans to include a bar within the vicinity, these concerts will surround about two thirds of the land inside the race track. This is a big coup for the newly formed city having already built their new shopping centre which has provided a significant amount of jobs as well as brought in more tourists for the city. Both the performances and the casino were approved despite concerns from local parish councils over noise pollution, traffic and parking facilities. The ambitious proposals will be implemented along with the racecourses new showground centre, with the terracing for 7,000 spectators and a fitness area.
War on words
It wasn’t all smiles though, Black Notley Parish Council objected to the casino staying open past 11pm on weeknights and 12am at weekend, however David Green, Chelmsford councils Director of Sustainable Communities stated that “Given the planning history and also the remoteness of the building from residential properties, there is no sound planning reason to limit the hours of use of the casino.
“Whilst it is recognised that casinos by their nature tend to operate late into the night, the number of visitors to the site during unsociable hours is not likely to be high.
He wrote: “The City Council’s Public Health and Protection service has advised that whilst complaints have been received in relation to noise from live music events previously held at the site, these have not reached a level such that they cause a statutory nuisance.
“The proposal is for 10 events only in any one calendar year and whether or not these events are held one after another or spread out across the year would make no material difference to the amenities of existing residents in the area.”
Great Notley council also criticised “insufficient” parking, which will be provided by the existing car park and two small areas, one on the inner race-track and the other on the site’s eastern corner.
They said: “It is vital that there is sufficient parking provision on site so that parking does not spill into the village.”
Black Notley council raised concerns that “these events could cause excessive traffic onto local inadequate country roads”.
Mr Green’s report responded: “Essex County Council Highway Authority are content that the vehicular access and parking areas are safe and sufficient to serve the site as an outdoor concert venue, but have advised that additional information is required in relation to the management of traffic at each event.”
Chelmsford City Racecourse has been approached for comment.