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ROUNDUP OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT STORIES IN TODAY'S PAPERS

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DISAPPOINTED COUNCILS TO APPEAL AGAINST CASINO PANEL DECISION...
DISAPPOINTED COUNCILS TO APPEAL AGAINST CASINO PANEL DECISION

Local authorities which have not been shortlisted as possible sites for a casino say they will appeal, reports The Times (p8).

The Casino Advisory Panel announced yesterday the eight possible sites for a super casino: Blackpool, Brent, Cardiff, Glasgow, Greenwich, Manchester, Newcastle upon Tyne and Sheffield. But the panel said this was a provisional list which could change.

The single winner of the super casino licence will be announced in December.

Several disappointed councils are considering legal action. Ted Richards, leader of Solihull MBC which organised the Birmingham NEC bid, said they would appeal against the panel's decision not to include the West Midlands on the shortlist. If necessary, they would consider legal action, he said.

Ken Taylor, leader of Coventry City Council, said: 'We will explore every avenue open to us in pressing the case for what we believe to be the natural choice for a regional casino.'

A bid by Havering LBC was also rejected. The borough's leader Michael White said: 'We're very disappointed and I'm planning to take action against this. I can't understand why we lost.'

Councils, as well as residents' groups and opponents to casinos, have until 28 June to respond to the panel.

SUCCESSFUL AUTHORITIES SEE CASINOS AS ECONOMIC BOOST

Shortlisted authorities hope a casino will bring economic regenration to their area, reports the Financial Times (p4). John Shipley, leader of Newcastle upon Tyne City Council, said the council was pleased to be on the shortlist. 'However, our driving ambition is the creation of a regional convention centre - the only way to realise this is through the casino route.'

Newcastle believes a convention centre could generate an extra£63m a year for the local economy and create 1,100 jobs.

Blackpool BC says a super casino could save the town's economy. Chief executive Steve Weaver said: 'It is critical to us. Something radical needs to come to Blackpool.'

Howard Bernstein, chief executive of Manchester City Council, said the Manchester scheme was, 'much more than a casino. This will be a mixed use facility with significant investment and job creation opportunities.'

In a leader (p16), the Financial Times says the government's 'rationing' of casinos has created many disappointed local authorities, and is undermined by the fact that on-line gambling is increasing unchecked.

TOO MANY NEW HOMES BUILT IN BACK GARDENS, SAY TORIES

Up to 20,000 homes a year supposedly built on brownfield sites are actually being constructed in back gardens, government figures show, reports The Times (p11).

The Conservatives have obtained statistics from the Department for Communities and Local Government that show 'garden grabbing' accounts for 15 per cent of all new housing.

Developers typically buy up family homes with large gardens, demolish the house and build flats on the site, which is categorised as brownfield. Local authorities give planning permission, because if they turn it down, they usually lose on appeal.

Greg Clarke, MP for Tunbridge Wells, says this makes a mockery of the planning system. He has tabled a bill to stop gardens being classified as brownfield and MPs will debate it on 14 July.

MP TO FIGHT LOSS OF CONSTITUENCY

Ed Balls, the economic secretary to the Treasury, looks set to have to find a new parliamentary constituency after the Boundary Commission for England confirmed its intention to abolish his Normanton seat, reports the Financial Times. Decision to cut West Yorkshire's allocation of Westminster seats from 23 to 22 - details.

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