PLANNING permission is being sought for the conversion of vacant retail units in St Helens town centre into six new bar and restaurant premises.

Proposals have been submitted to St Helens Council by applicants Hope Street Properties to convert the empty units from 8 to 16A Cotham Street.

Town centre fashion retailer OD's Designer Clothing relocated its womenswear shop from the location earlier this year to to be "under one roof" with the menswear shop on Barrow Street.

A design and access statement in the plans says the application site comprises of six empty units, four retail and two restaurant, "that have recently became vacant".

The units "are located to the ground floor and basement of the block".

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Seeking permission for bar and restaurant use, the applicants state: "Dependent on end uses, we expect to let to sole restaurant occupiers in some units but require flexibility for prospective tenants".

The statement adds: "The external appearance will largely remain the same. Where new shop fronts are proposed, these will be of similar style and materials to those already in place".

It concludes: "The proposed development is considered acceptable/sustainable to the town centre use group, and being peripheral to the main retail core is more likely to succeed than retail, which has proved difficult to let here."

A determination deadline has been set for January 13.