PLANS seeking permission to use an empty retail warehouse as a car showroom have been submitted.

Proposals to change the use of the empty former Bargain Buys, on Lowe Street, St Helens, into a Kia dealership have been drawn up.

Plans include for ancillary valeting and MOT workshop, along with associated external alterations.

The application states the proposed dealership would create 15 full-time jobs and five part-time.

A design and access statement in the plans, prepared by Leach Rhodes Walker, says: "Acorn Motor Group are in the process of acquiring the premises and wish to convert the existing building and create a Kia dealership on the site".

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It adds: "The existing store occupies a prime town centre location on the A571, boasting prominent visibility to motorists and shoppers passing by. It presents a promising opportunity to be transformed into a high-quality landmark site.

"However, the current building requires refurbishment as it is not in good repair, requires minor functional modifications and re-branding".

Proposed works include to strip out of the existing shop fittings and the splitting of the internal space to form a showroom and workshop at the ground floor, with associated office space formed on the existing mezzanine.

The stockrooms will be used for parts storage and there will be re-cladding of the external elevations.

The plans also involve opening up the ground floor, with showroom elevations to create display windows and an active frontage.

The application adds there will be a "well defined customer entrance" created with an upgrade of the external cladding.

There would also be a complete refit of the showroom interior, the addition of a late order store/bin store.

St Helens Star: A sketch of the proposed Kia dealership in the plansA sketch of the proposed Kia dealership in the plans (Image: Leach Rhodes Walker Architects (St Helens Council Planning Portal))

Works would also see "rationalisation of the service yard" and alterations to the external works to create a car sales forecourt.

The site area will be unchanged and will remain at 3427m2.

Plans add: "The existing building is currently a relatively simple ‘box’ and industrial in character. It is generally in need of pair and refurbishment.

"The proposed design seeks to refresh the materials in which it is constructed creating a neat up to date ‘high tech’ box with engaging active frontage where appropriate."

Plans conclude: "This project to create a new car dealership and bring Kia to St Helens has been thoughtfully conceived. It is an appropriate use, size and scale, and is set out in a logical and legible way with easy access.

"High-quality design and materials are proposed that will rejuvenate the building and site and adjacent properties are respected.

"It is suggested that the proposals will have a positive impact on the built environment, provide a valuable service to customers and create employment opportunities".

The planning application is on standard consultation to the public until Monday, November 6. A decision by council planners is expected by December 7.