New 24-hour amusement arcade could open in Clifton after travel agency closes during pandemic

Karen

A 19th-century building at one corner of Clifton Triangle could become home to a new 24-hour arcade.

and betting company iLudo82 has sought planning permission from Bristol City Council, to open a Be Lucky ‘amusement centre’ along Queens Road.

The Grade II listed site was formerly home to travel agency STA Travel, which collapsed into administration last year as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Despite the Clifton branch being listed as “temporarily closed” on Google, the planning application states that STA Travel “vacated the premises in August”.

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It adds: “The proposals will facilitate the occupation of the premises by a Be Lucky amusement centre, which are becoming increasingly popular within designed shopping areas across the UK.

“Be Lucky amusement centres do not offer alcohol nor do they play loud music.

“The premise of the business is to offer quiet leisure option, catering for individuals that do not wish to drink or socialise in large groups with loud music.”

The application advises that “the amusement centre seeks to operate 24 hours daily” and would create seven jobs.

It continues: “The gaming machines do not generate significant amounts of noise, as this would detract from the subdued atmosphere of the business.

“Whilst the amusement centre will be operating outside of regular commercial operating hours, the customer base of Be Lucky amusement centres after midnight is predominantly local entertainment and shift workers who like to relax after their busy shifts.

“Therefore, [they] are unlikely to generate significant amounts of noise.

“The Noise Impact Assessment identifies the 24 hour of the use of the proposed Be Lucky amusement centre will not harm the amenities of the first floor student flats, and customers leaving the application site will not generate significant disturbance which would harm the amenities of residential properties within the surrounding area.”

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Vacant units ‘harmful’ to shopping area

There are already Be Lucky sites in the South West, including along Cheltenham High Street.

The application states that there are “no existing amusement centres” within the shopping area in which it is located, which falls within the Park Street and Brandon Hill Conservation Area.

Noting neighbouring vacant units, the application adds: “This forms a harmful concentration of vacant retail units as well as an existing significant break in the shopping frontage.

“The change of use provides an opportunity to reduce this break in the inactive retail frontage and reduce the overall amount of vacant units.

“The proposed use will diversify the function of the [shopping area] and contribute to the evening economy.”

Planning documents describe the building as a “mid-19th century terrace”, and discuss its historical use as a bank.

The application argues: “The proposals will result in no change to the appearance of the site in the street scene, and its use will be in line with the predominantly retail nature of the area.

“[It will have] no impact on the character or appearance, and thus significance of the Conservation Area.”

The council has not yet set a target date for its decision on the change of use application.

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