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Simpson still not home and dry after Manchester super-casino win - image

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Ian Simpson could be in line to get his hands on Britain's first super-casino following this morning's surprise announcement that Manchester had been chosen as the location for a Las Vegas-style gambling Mecca.

However, the future of the architect's role in the project may be in doubt after it emerged Manchester City Council will have to re-open the competition for the plot in regeneration zone New East Manchester.

Simpson had originally drawn up plans for the site's preferred developer ASK in collaboration with Artisan - proposals that formed the basis of the city's winning bid to the government's Casino Advisory Panel.

But unfortunately for the practice, the authority will now have to undertake a full competitive tender process to comply with the Gambling Act.

A spokesman for the developer said: 'Whether ASK and Simpson will be the team behind it remains to be seen.

'This is the go-ahead for the site rather than the scheme as first planned.'

The decision, which has to be rubber-stamped by parliament, also means hot favourites Blackpool and the Millennium Dome will both miss out.

This will be a bitter blow for Blackpool's regeneration plans and could spell the end for Gensler's massive seafront leisure complex.

Doug Garrett, chief executive of regeneration company ReBlackpool, said: 'I'm very disappointed indeed at the outcome, Blackpool's future was something built around our plan.'

by Richard Waite

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