Children’s ‘retro arcade’ plan given the green light

Date published: 18 February 2019

A new children’s entertainment centre featuring pinball machines, air-hockey tables and a go-karting track is set to open in Middleton.

Rochdale Council planning committee approved proposals that will see the abandoned Stylegleam shoe shop, in Wood Street, transformed into a ‘retro arcade’ for youngsters.

The attraction will also boast arcade machines and table football, as well as a diner, toilet facilities and 34 parking spaces.

There will be no change to the size of the 302 square metre unit.

The decision to give applicant Gary Stafford’s plans the green light have been hailed as ‘brilliant’ by Middleton councillor Sue Smith.

Councillor Smith, who is also assistant cabinet member for children’s services, said: “This is absolutely fantastic news, these are activities that are long are long overdue in Middleton for children and young people.

“I have not seen the exact plans, but from what I’m hearing it’s going to make a big difference to children that live here.

“Any new activities or youth provision is absolutely amazing news and lots of people are going to be happy to hear it.”

She continued: “Children and young people need things like this – we need more really – but this is good news, this is a start, we are still on a mission to get more youth provision for the borough.”

Councillor Smith says the new arcade will be especially welcome as government cuts have had a big impact on children’s and youth services over recent years.

“It’s brilliant,” she said. “Hats off to the council for passing this and letting it go through, there are lots of funding cuts hitting children’s services, so anything like this is good news, especially for the children and young people that need things like this.”

A design and access statement accompanying the application says the vacant 302 square metre unit is regarded as an ‘eyesore’ locally and giving it a new lease of life would improve the appearance of the area.

It adds: “We feel the addition of the development will be a significant positive addition to the local community and help diversify the local economy.

“The appearance of the building will be to a high standard and be designed to raise it above the surrounding premises.”

Previous applications for the site have included plans for a community support centre, as well as a complex including a restaurant, beauty salon and offices.

Planning permission for the latter was passed last year but the scheme was not pursued.

Nick Statham, Local Democracy Reporter

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