Adult gaming centre plan for listed Preston building

Posted on - 13th October, 2023 - 7:00am | Author - | Posted in - Business, Flag Market, Preston buildings & attractions, Preston City Centre, Preston Council, Preston News, Redevelopment
Proposed arcade site in Preston
Proposed arcade site in Preston

A listed building in one of the busiest parts of Preston city centre could be turned into an adult gaming arcade.

The venture would be housed in a former building society branch on the corner of Lune Street and Fishergate, if plans lodged with Preston City Council are given the go-ahead.

The prominent plot has been largely unoccupied since February 2019 and Wigan-based Kings Gaming Centres – the firm behind the arcade proposal – argues that the business would “help secure both the sustained use and the maintenance” of the Grade II-listed asset.

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The application submitted to the town hall seeks permission only for a change of use of the building, with no internal or external alterations proposed at this stage.   Any such changes – including the installation of advertisements and signage – would require a separate request to town hall planners, based on the listed status of the building.

In a supporting statement accompanying the application, planning agents Woods Whur note that adult gaming centres (ACGs) are “distinct” from betting shops.

“Not only is the style of play different from betting shop activity, the machines in AGCs offer lower stakes, ranging from 10p to a maximum of £2 – and the average stake in an ACG is between 30-50p.

“There are no Fixed Odds Betting terminals in adult gaming centres [and they] do not show live sports. These premises will be no noisier than a shop and less so than betting offices which have TVs showing live racing.

“Adult gaming centres appeal to a different demographic of customers [to] betting offices. The proposed premises will attract local people who are using the high street for other activities and local residents.

“The customer split is typically 50 percent female and 50 percent male and customers often visit on their own or in a couple, but rarely in larger groups. Teas and coffees are provided to Customers,” the document adds.

Staff would also operate on the shop floor and not behind a screened counter, as is usually the case in betting shops.

The building was occupied by the Woolwich Building Society until the late 2000s and was later home to a carpet shop for much of the 2010s.  Since early 2019, it has had only one temporary tenant – between October 2022 and February this year.

The application for the adult gaming centre states that the property has been “actively marketed” for almost five years, but there has been “no retail interest at all”.

“There has been limited interest from local food and beverage operators, but only Kings Gaming Centres…has made an offer,” the supporting statement declares.

The applicant has agreed a 10-year lease of the premises and the proposed business would employ between eight and 10 staff.

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