Mecca Bingo has been caught up in a row over the future of a local bingo hall that has escalated into a political dispute.
The row centres on a bingo hall in Eltham, in south-east London, which has been marked for possible development by the local council. The site appears in planning documents put together by Greenwich Council, but Mecca insist that they will continue operations there.
And the row took on a political aspect when the Labour Eltham MP Clive Efford spoke out on social media over the issue. At the same time, his constituency opponent in the current General Election, Louie French, has been campaigning on the issue.
The bingo hall is a building that dates back to the 1930s. The land has been identified by the local council as a possible location for future development. But at this stage, proposals are only in draft form, and has yet to undergo further consultation. That is due to take place next year.
Efford was responding to speculation that Mecca, which is owned by the Rank Group, were considering leaving the site:
“I have spoken to Rank, which owns Mecca Bingo. They’ve told me the Eltham Bingo is one of their most popular clubs and it is not closing. Those claiming that it is being closed are acting irresponsibly and should show more care for the employees and people who enjoy the bingo.”
In response several Conservative members said that they had been told that the landowner was going to develop the site. But the leader of the Council, Danny Thorpe also weighed in, confirming that the speculation over the site came from others, and not from Mecca.
The building, which has been a bingo hall since June 1967, is currently leased to Mecca, although the company has not confirmed what it intends to do when the lease runs out in 2021.