Manchester supercasino row could finish in court

Manchester city council has indicated it is prepared to take the Government to court if it scraps the city's planned supercasino.

A review into the scheme was ordered by Gordon Brown upon his appointment as Prime Minister.

Led by Communities Secretary and Salford MP Hazel Blears, the review was designed to find out whether there were better ways to regenerate east Manchester.

But despite the Prime Minister's early assurances that he would 'see it through', the council is concerned that the review, due in the next few days, could still give Brown reason to scrap the project.

If that happens, the council could seek a judicial review.

Sir Howard Bernstein, chief executive of Manchester City Council, said: "The Prime Minister posed a very serious question on July 11 when he asked whether there was an alternative regeneration strategy for east Manchester which could deliver similar benefits to the regional casino.

"We have made a strong, positive contribution to the review he initiated. The evidence is clear that there is no other option for the site which could deliver anything like the same scale of jobs and investment. On the basis of this evidence we fully expect the regional casino to be approved.

"However, we have been frequently asked by the media whether we could consider a legal challenge if the regional casino does not proceed, especially if the 16 smaller casinos do go ahead. Clearly it is premature to give a definitive answer, but in this event we would be obliged to consider all the options available to do us in order to protect 3,500 jobs and more than £250m of private investment for Manchester, and east Manchester residents in particular."

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