Protesting neighbours put the ‘No’ into casino plans

Fears gamblers will cause ‘awful noise and pollution’ in quiet Mayfair street if plans to transform block of flats get the go-ahead

Wednesday, 2nd January 2019 — By Joshua Stein

Casino Protesters

Demonstrators opposing casino plans which they say will ‘let down the cultural history’ of an area with links to Churchill and Bismarck

RESIDENTS of “genteel Mayfair” have taken to the streets in protest at plans for a 24/7 casino they fear will ­“drive up congestion, pollution and noise”.

The Mayfair Against Casino Expansion Action group recently staged the demonstration in Charles Street in opposition to Continuity Capital’s plan to transform a block of flats into a casino, kitchen and smoking terrace.

Westminster’s planning committee will make a decision on the app­lication later this month.

Residents living nearby say the street will become clogged up with traffic – customers’ cars and delivery trucks – while gamblers will cause disturbance on their way in and out and while using a new terrace in the building’s courtyard.

Jacqueline Payne, who lives in Rosebery Court, said the “awful noise and pollution” from the casino would be damaging for her two daughters, who go to nursery nearby.

Ward councillors Timothy Barnes and Jonathan Glanz

“All in all it’s an improper site, right next to two residences,” she said. Her daughters wore pollution masks to the demo, in protest at the feared health im­pact.

Construction plans would include a smoking terrace, open during the night, overlooking the flats and middle courtyard of Rosebery Court.

Campaign organiser James Horsman is concerned about the effect on residents. “There’ll be a smoking terrace and kitchens installed in this property. That means kitchen fumes, tobacco and noise going from the terrace into the children’s bedrooms,” he said.

Mr Horsman believes the development will “let down the cultural history of the area”. Figures such as Winston Churchill and Otto von Bismarck have visited the address, which was home to Debrett’s social etiquette consultancy, publishers of Debrett’s Peerage and Baronetage.

In letters to residents, the company has said it is “conscious of the concerns raised” and has “experience of operating other casino sites in close proximity to residential premises”.

West End Conservative ward councillor Timothy Barnes disputed this. “What they mean is Leicester Square, which is not comparable in any way, shape or form,” he said. “It’s the centre of the entertainment industry, whereas this is broadly residential.”

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