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Owner's plans for bingo hall

Jerry Bown, owner of Kings Bingo, and his wife Jackie
Jerry Bown, owner of Kings Bingo, and his wife Jackie

A bingo hall could be demolished and turned into 13 apartments if a planning application is successful.

But the owner of Kings Bingo in Broadway, Sheerness, insists there will still be some form of community venue for people to enjoy social events.

Jerry Bown has put in an application to Swale Borough Council for the demolition of the building and to replace it with 13 one- and two-bedroom flats and a “community facility” below.

Mr Bown has blamed the decision on the smoking ban and online gaming, which he thinks have contributed to a decline in the bingo industry.

He said he wants some sort of community venue to remain at the site, which could be used for any number of things such as parent and toddler groups – or bingo.

He said: “Since the smoking ban came in, the attendance has been declining and the popularity of online gaming has increased, so we are looking at other options for the club.

“I have put in the application in the hope the council will recognise that if the business declines much further we wouldn’t be able to operate and there would be a large derelict building in the centre of Sheerness, which is the last thing I want.

“It’s looking at other options to allow us to survive.

“Another area we are looking at is cabarets and things to make ends meet because the bingo side has declined so much.

“I don’t want to lose the community facility – that would be a sad thing to allow that to go completely.”

Kings Bingo has been running in Sheerness for 14 years, and was previously a Gala Bingo club.

The club employs five staff, plus management, and if the application was successful Mr Bown, pictured, said they would not be out of work.

He added: “If the bingo club does close, staff would be offered positions within the new community area and all the staff are aware of the planning applications.”

Last month Doug Walton, the owner of Corrigans, in Leysdown Road, applied to change that venue into three flats.

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