Casino approved for St Martin's school site
Furious scenes at the Planning department as American consortium is granted permission to build casino on site of former St Martin’s school.
There is shock and disbelief across the island today as news spreads that a state-of-the-art £800 million-pound casino has been given the go-ahead to replace the former primary school at St Martin. After decades of campaigning and hostile debate, planners have finally yielded to developers, and have rubber stamped Jersey’s first licenced casino, set to offer 24-hour gambling to both islanders and visitors alike.
Running concurrently with the construction of the casino, will be the development of St Catherine’s pier into a deep-water marina, facilitating the reception of ocean-liners, and opening up the island to wealthy cruise-goers and Nordic whalers.
Rumours abound that David Copperfield has already penned a two-year residency at the casino, that will see him perform alongside Barbara Streisand, Barry Manilow and Celine Dion; as well as top UK acts, Adele, Brian Conley and Stavros Flatley. The new venue will also see home to the largest indoor aquarium in the world, where diners can enjoy Michelin starred dishes amongst whale sharks, stingrays and giant anemones.
There is an unmistakeable buzz on the streets of the eastern parishes, as local businesses, recognising the potential uplift from the announcements, are wasting little time in exploiting the situation. The Hungry Man at Rozel has enquired about extending their covered seating area from 8 to 12 seats, Maufant stores are believed to have just ordered 15 Segway units for a new hire-shop, and Jersey Zoo has just applied to construct a monorail from St Martin’s playing fields, all the way to their café and gift shop.
Many local residents have not however been so welcoming. ‘What happened to the pharmacy and doctors’ surgery we were all talking about?’ demanded retired postal worker, Clive Crump. ‘What’s happened?!... It’s all about money, these days. It’s all about the Dollar. No-one gives two hoots about me. About my lesions. There’s not as much revenue in steroid cream and eye tests as there is in roulette....' 'And to hell with my leg’
And whilst buoyant about the impact of the casino on the local economy, Imelda Gibbs, a senior official from Social Security, expressed frustration at the reception of her department’s most recent recruitment drive for the business. ‘I’m afraid’ she said ‘once again, uptake has so far been disappointing from local youngsters with regard to employment opportunities. We’ve had just one enquiry to our advert that went out this morning offering traineeships in lion taming and trapeze artistry.’ ‘...and that was an Iranian gentleman in his fifties.’ She sighed. ‘We’ve had plenty of people ask us about becoming croupiers’ she said ‘But almost every one of them has been a former estate agent.’ ‘And the conglomerate’s board has clearly stated: no convictions’
‘‘£800 million’?!’ demanded Five Oaks saddlery owner, Terence Needles. ‘What a joke. That money could be used to resurrect the cable cars at Fort Regent. Or to fix the steam clock. We could probably do both in fact - and still have enough left over to sort out the rest of the loose rocks on mount Bingham’
The development has also attracted fierce opposition from Randal’s operated pub, The Royal, over what it deems ‘serious concerns’ that its Coronation Street themed fruit machine will soon disappear from peoples' thoughts altogether.
‘I think it’s outrageous’ explained local farmer, Trudy Lemoncliffe ‘It’s bad enough around here already: what with Ransom’s, and the hill climbs, and tourists getting lost trying to find Anne Port and the woods and the Crab Shack…. not to mention all those wretched geo-cachers, who seem to multiplying by the thousand with every fortnight that passes.’ ‘And what’s all this I’m hearing about their proposed game reserve?! I know they’ve said they want antelope and gazelle. But hyenas?! How much milk are my girls going to give me if every time they look down, they’re in fear of marauding hyenas for goodness sakes? I just can’t believe it’ she said ‘I can’t believe any of it. There’ll be drunken men swimming about naked in Queen’s Valley reservoir in no time at all…… limousines full of hookers tearing about through the back lanes, tossing off champagne bottles into the hedgerows, willy-effing-nilly.. It’s just not on.’ ‘It’s enough to make you consider St Lawrence’ she said ‘it really is.’
The casino is scheduled for completion in 2020, and is to be formally opened by Meatloaf and the Lieutenant Governor.