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New Casino Plan for City Centre Recommended for Approval

21 September 2004

SCOTLAND –(PRESS RELEASE) -- A proposal to turn former offices in a B-listed building in Aberdeen city centre into a casino are to be considered next week.

The application for change of use and extension of 47-53 Market Street is to come before the City Council's Planning Committee on September 30.

Planners say they feel the plan would add to the 'vibrancy' of the city centre.

The premises, an impressive structure dating from around Georgian times, at the foot of Market Street, was most recently used as offices but now lies vacant.

In the past, it has been used as a post office and as a labour exchange. Most recently it was the offices for an insurance company and for Rehab Scotland.

Permission is sought by The International Development Company to create a main gaming area in the ground level central part of the building. Two separate mezzanine floors would be added to house offices and a meeting room.

Further internal changes would include the creation of a bar, a lounge, a kitchen, a cashier's office and a snooker room.

At the basement level, toilets, boiler room, changing areas and store would be created as well as a beer cellar.

A small extension is planned at the far end of the access lane, off Regent Quay. The only other external change would be to create a ramp, constructed from granite, at the main entrance at Market Street.

In a report on the application, Planning Standards Manager Chris Jackson says: "The main issues to take into account in assessing this proposal are its effect on the vitality of the city centre and the amenity of its residents and users, the suitability of this use at this building, and the effects of its alterations on the character and integrity of the listed building."

He says the proposal falls under the umbrella of the term mixed use identified in the development plan, aimed at creating a vibrant city centre. If implemented, it would result in only the second casino use in the defined city centre.

Mr Jackson says: "This would add to the available recreational facilities within the centre and would create more 'vibrancy'"

The proposed change of use would also contribute positively to the economy of the area and would be far enough from residential properties not to affect residents' amenity.

He adds: "There is a perception at the moment that there is over-provision of licensed premises in the city centre.

"However, this type of use restricts its clientele by membership and is not regarded in the same vein as either a nightclub or a public house for example. Therefore, it is considered that the perceived fears do not apply to this type of use."

Mr Jackson says he feels the proposal does not adversely affect the character and integrity of the listed building and overall, will allow for better use and maintenance of the property.

He recommends the committee agrees on willingness to approve the planning application, subject to satisfactory reference to Historic Scotland and to appropriate conditions.

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