One local legislator has been left chuffed-to-pieces at the news that an old shoe shop in Middleton, near Rochdale, is to get a new lease-on-life in the form of a retro arcade and FEC.
The Stylegleam shop on Wood Street has been derelict for some years now, but a recent change-of-use application by Gary Stafford – a new children’s entertainment centre featuring pinball machines, air-hockey tables and a go-karting track – was quickly approved by the planning commissioners of Rochdale Council – a decision fellow councillor Sue Smith hailed as “brilliant”.
Smith, who serves as assistant cabinet member for children’s services, said that the arcade would “make a big difference to children that live here,” considering the fact that cuts to local funding has had a markedly damaging effect on regional children’s services.
“Any new activities or youth provision is absolutely amazing news and lots of people are going to be happy to hear it,” she added. “Children and young people need things like this – we need more really – but this is good news, this is a start.”
Stafford’s application, which acknowledges the premises’ reputation as something of a local “eyesore,” plans to renovate the building’s exterior – and fill the innards with all manner of retro arcade goodies such as pinball machines, table-football, video games, air-hockey and even a go-kart track.
Encouragingly, Stafford’s success serves as clear example of the evident import planners are now placing on leisure within the context of the declining British high street: a long list of previous applicants for the site had failed to impress local commissioners – with bids to launch a new community centre, beauty salon and restaurant all failing to gain requisite approvals.