From Empty Shop to Arcade Haven: Repurposing Retail Space in Preston City Centre

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Alan Evans

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Alan Evans

News Writer

Last Updated 14th May 2024, 03:20 PM

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From Empty Shop to Arcade Haven: Repurposing Retail Space in Preston City Centre

Orchard Street in Preston City Centre to welcome a new adult gaming arcade by the Noble Group, revitalising a former bookmaker's shop. (Image: Radharc Images / Alamy)

Preston City Council Planning Officers have given the green light for the establishment of three adult games arcades in the heart of Preston City Centre. 

The most recent approval was granted for a facility on Orchard Street, which will be operated by the Noble Group. This arcade, featuring various games such as slots, will occupy a vacant former bookmaker's shop, bringing new life to the premises.

The decision was supported by planning officer Vanessa Cartwright-Bremner, who found no adverse impacts on local residents or the visual aesthetic of the area.


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Public Consultation and Objections 

A previous application for an adult games arcade on Friargate faced objections during a public consultation, primarily due to concerns over the clustering of such facilities and their potential effect on vulnerable individuals. However, these objections were dismissed by the council, signalling a belief in the viability and responsible operation of adult gaming arcades in the city. 

Repurposing of Retail Spaces and the Benefits  

The approval of these adult games arcades reflects a broader trend in the UK, where local authorities are actively seeking to repurpose vacant retail premises. With the decline of traditional physical retail and the impact of the global pandemic, there is a pressing need to breathe new life into these spaces. 

By repurposing them for businesses such as adult game arcades, councils aim to revitalise the city centres and offer unique experiences for both residents and visitors. 

This approach aligns with the efforts to leverage empty retail units for various purposes, including the creation of hubs for new businesses and hot-desking facilities. 

The Changing Retail Landscape and the Need for Adaptation 

Experts predict that up to 40% of shops in the UK will require reinvention or face closure over the next five years as the demand for physical retail diminishes. This shift necessitates the reimagining of retail spaces to accommodate leisure, hospitality, health, or civic uses. 

A survey conducted by trade body Revo and consultancy Lambert Smith Hampton (LSH) found that 61% of respondents believed that between 20% and 40% of retail space should be repurposed in the next five years. Some even advocated for a higher percentage of transformation. 

Impact on Retail Redevelopment 

The push for repurposing retail spaces has already gained momentum, with the number of units repurposed reaching new heights. 

In 2022 alone, 10,739 units were transformed, showing a steady increase compared to previous years. Analysts at the Local Data Company highlight that 15% of UK retail sites remained vacant in the past year. 

The ongoing redevelopment efforts aim to address this vacancy issue while bringing diverse and innovative businesses, like adult games arcades, into the city centres. 

Preston City Centre's embrace of three adult game arcades showcases the city's commitment to repurposing retail spaces and creating vibrant destinations for residents and visitors. 

The decision by Preston City Council Planning Officers reflects their belief in responsible operation and positive impacts on the local community. As the retail landscape continues to evolve, the repurposing of retail spaces will be crucial to revitalising city centres across the UK. 

We contacted the mayor of Preston for a comment.

Meet The Author

Alan Evans
Alan Evans
News Writer News Writer

Most of my career was spent in teaching including at one of the UK’s top private schools. I left London in 2000 and set up home in Wales raising four beautiful children. I enrolled at University where I studied Photography and film and gained a Degree and subsequently a Masters Degree. In 2014 I helped launch a new local newspaper and managed to get front and back page as well as 6 filler pages on a weekly basis. I saw that journalism was changing and was a pioneer of hyperlocal news in Wales. In 2017 I started one of the first 24/7 free independent news sites for Wales. Having taken that to a successful business model I was keen for a new challenge. Joining the company is exciting for me especially as it is a new role in Europe. I am keen to establish myself and help others to do the same.

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