Plans to turn a former pie shop into an off licence were deferred last week amid claims signage to the front and side of the shop would be “lit up like Las Vegas”.
Coun Geoff Almond admitted that planning legislation meant there was little he could do about the property on the corner of Charles Street and Tolver Street, at the back of the Town Hall, being converted into a corner shop.
But he argued that lighting up two shopfront signs - one opposite a spiritualist church - was completely unnecessary.
He told a planning meeting last week: “The front of the shop has already been totally transformed from a discreet shop window into a massive three-part window. But my main concern is why this shop has to be lit up like Las Vegas?
“There seems to have been no consideration given to the fact that there is a place of worship directly opposite. I would also question how this shop could be serviced given that there is double yellow lines and resident parking only in this area.
“I suggest there should be a time limit on opening hours too and the entrance should be on Tolver Street, not Charles Street.”
Linda Lowe, president of the St Helens First National Spiritualist Church, also gave an impassioned plea against plans to light up signs on both sides of the Best One shop and extend the property into the rear yard.
She said: “This shop will not be in keeping with a residential area and will have a licence to sell alcohol. We will never escape the name ‘Best One’. Best one for whom... certainly not us!
“Adding this shop to the similar one on Vincent Street will encourage underage and on-street drinking in the area and will only exacerbate the current disturbances and anti-social behaviour we are suffering.
“People come to our church to find peace within its walls.”
Councillors sitting on the borough’s planning committee voted to defer any decision on the plans - by nine votes to two - to allow time for more consultation between planners and local residents.
Coun Allan Jones said: “Why we need an illuminated sign in either street I don’t know. It’s a residential area and everyone will already know it’s a shop.”
Coun Marlene Quinn added: “I’m concerned that the church will be facing this shop. It’s not my faith but it needs respecting.”