Plans to turn former St Helens restaurant into adult gaming centre

Further details have emerged surrounding proposals to transform a former restaurant into an adult gaming centre in St Helens town centre.

The Ormskirk Street building, which has been vacant since the closure of Olive Tree in 2019 and Havana Bar and Restaurant before that, has been subject to several planning and licensing applications in recent months.

The building in Ormskirk Street. Image: Trip Advisor

The building in Ormskirk Street. Image: Trip Advisor

Planning permission was granted last September to convert the building, allowing for nine residential flats on the upper floor.

In November, a licence application was made by Southport-based White Leisure Ltd for an adult gaming centre at the Ormskirk Street building.

A St Helens Council spokesman said processes are in place to remove the existing licence attached to the premises, after which the new application will be granted in full.

Further details around the proposed adult gaming centre have now been revealed in a new planning application submitted by White Leisure Ltd.

“The activity proposed is that of an adult gaming centre (required by law to exclude those aged under 18) consisting of gaming machines, ancillary catering and retail sales,” agent Roger Etchells wrote in the design and access statement.

“Such establishments are found in most shopping centres.

“They have different effects from amusement arcades.”

The agent said amusement centres of this kind are “harmless” to nearby traders and said they do not cause noise or disturbance.

Mr Etchells said he is “confident” the adult gaming centre will have no adverse impact on retailing activity or harm the character or trade of the shopping centre, and will actually enhance the vitality of the shopping centre and add to the diversity, choice and competition in the shopping area.

The agent said the proposals comply with national and local planning policy and argued there are other material considerations that reinforces the presumption in favour of granting planning permission.

Mr Etchells said: “The proposal will reuse an existing non-retail unit and to that extent is sustainable.

“The refurbishment of the ground floor of the building and its occupation would benefit the character and appearance of the shopping centre.

“There is no conflict with national policy.

“Accordingly, the proposal is consistent with the relevant local policy adopted by the council.”

According to the planning application, it is proposed the new adult gaming would be open seven days a week, including bank holidays, from 9am to 10pm.

It is proposed that the new business will employ six full-time members of staff and six part-time members.

The planning application has been validated by St Helens Council and is awaiting a decision.