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Bingo Hall Boost For City Centre 

Months of uncertainty for bingo players in Coventry has ended with the news they can still play in the city centre after the demolition of the Hippodrome.

The propsed new Gala Bingo hall

Coventry City Council’s cabinet agreed yesterday to hand over the short stay car park in Fairfax Street,  next to Pool Meadow, to Gala Bingo.

Gala will have to move out of the Hippodrome in July when it is demolished to make way for the Phoenix Initiative.

The offer of a car park as land for a new facility has been on the table for some time, but the details were finally agreed yesterday.

The issue had been held up by various court challenges by Gala to try and stop the council from serving a compulsory purchase order on them.

Various changes will now be made to the neighbouring Cox Street long-stay car park allow short stay parking in the area.

Councillor Dave Batten, cabinet member (Development and Renewal) said:

"We have been in negotiations for some time with Gala to secure a new site for their re-location and it is very pleasing to see that we can move forward and deliver on a new site.

“We want to create a vibrant and bustling city centre that has something for everyone, young or old, and we appreciated that the Gala Bingo facility was a very popular one with people in the city.

“With this in mind it should be great news that bingo players will have not only a new facility but that it remains firmly in the heart of our city centre."

Gala's Chief Executive, John Kelly, added:

"We're delighted and relieved that the months of uncertainty for our customers and employees are over.

“Arrangements have already been made to re-deploy the staff and management from the Hippodrome.

“I'm grateful for their support throughout this difficult time and hope eventually to see them back at the new club.

“I hope our members will bear with us and play at the Gala clubs in Radford and Walsgrave until they can return to our new city centre venue."

Chris Beck, Project Director for the Phoenix Initiative, also expressed his happiness with the proposed deal. He said:

"I am delighted we have been able to secure a site for the new Gala Bingo Club in the city centre.

“We have worked hard looking at all the options and this site best-suited Gala's requirements. We always said we wanted to find a new home for bingo players in the city centre and now we have succeeded."

It is expected that Gala can open their doors to their new club in summer 2002.

Gala have submitted a full planning application for their new building, which will be considered at a future Planning Committee meeting.

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CWN / Politics / Coventry City Council / 22 Feb 01
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