Friday, February 17, 2006

People who have been following this blog over the last couple of years will know that we have been waging war with a company called Blue Chip Casinos for the last three years. For those who don't know...start here! Blue Chip submitted a planning application to convert a pub in a residential street in my Ward into an all-night gambling den decked out to look like some ridiculous ocean liner.

Local residents objected to the plans and the Planning Committee threw the proposal out on the grounds of unreasonable noise and nuisance to local people. Undeterred, Blue Chip appealed to the Planning Inspectorate, and after a three-day public inquiry, the Planning Inspectorate upheld the Planning Committee’s decision.

We thought that would be the end of it, and they would go away and leave the residents in peace. Oh no! Blue Chip submitted modified plans which erected some bloody awful ‘sheds’ at the back, directly facing people’s homes, to act as ‘an acoustic barrier’. Planning Committee kicked this in to touch as well, this time with the rider that the sheds themselves were ugly. Back came Blue Chip again, this time with ‘litter gathering’ shrubs on the street facing part of the sheds. Once again, Planning Committee threw out the plans and confirmed quite clearly that they still didn’t think an all-night casino in a residential street was appropriate… with or without tarted-up sheds.

So, now, with only three days before their deadline to appeal expired, Blue Chip are back for a fifth bite of the cherry with another appeal to the Planning Inspectorate. For three years this odious company have subjected residents to a process of mental torture. But for the fifth time in three years the residents are preparing to resist them. With the assistance of the excellent Planning Aid, we are drawing up the battle lines. Unfortunately the Planning Inspectorate has chosen to deal with this latest appeal behind closed doors on the basis of an exchange of papers, leaving local people suspicious that the Inspectorate don’t want to stab them in the front.

The fight goes on.