PLANS to build a lavish new casino in Solihull have been branded “a backward step” by a local church leader.
Father Patrick Gerard, a curate at St Alphege Parish Church, fears it will create greater gambling addiction and says he intends to voice his concerns at a special meeting next week.
That meeting, at the Renewal Christian Centre in Lode Lane, has been called by Solihull Council, which is conducting a public consultation on its gambling policy before awarding a licence for a gaming venue.
Solihull was one of 16 local authorities given the green light by the Government last year for a “large” casino with 150 slot machines and a maximum jackpot of £4,000.
The NEC Group has proposed a £90 million hotel and leisure development, including the casino, at its Bickenhill site in partnership with gaming company Genting Stanley.
However, clergymen who are members of Solihull Faith Forum have raised objections.
“The main issue is the potential to increase addiction to gambling,” said Father Patrick. “I am concerned that the casino will exploit vulnerable people.
“Gambling can wreck family life. Setting a casino here would be a backward step.”
The council consultation runs until June 26. To voice your views, write to Gavin Morrice, Public Protection Manager, PO Box 1833, Council House, Solihull MBC B91 9DZ or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org