CONTROVERSIAL plans for a town centre casino in Bournemouth are going ahead despite hopes they could be scrapped.

The council's cabinet agreed to continue negotiations with developer the Trevor Osborne Property Group at a meeting yesterday.

But chairman and leader of the council Cllr Stephen MacLoughlin refused to rule out tearing up the contract.

"There is still the option for the council to try to get out of the contract that was signed on May 3," he told the meeting.

"The financial implications of doing so are being clarified. We are seeking still for the Trevor Osborne Group to amend proposals."

When they took office in May, Conservative councillors instigated a review of the plans, linked to the refurbishment of the Pavilion. They were unhappy that a contract committing the town to such a large-scale development had been signed on polling day.

The meeting was told a scrutiny panel is due to examine the circumstances surrounding the signing of the contract next month.

Cabinet members were also urged to carefully consider any new occupants of the proposed scheme.

The Trevor Osborne Group has assured the council that it will include high quality restaurants, not takeaways, bars or nightclubs.

And suggestions that a virtual reality visual entertainment centre could occupy part of the building have also been met with scepticism.

Cllr MacLoughlin said: "We want something that is going to be well-used by Bournemouth people and by visitors - research is still going on as to what people need."