A REDUNDANT Barrow supermarket can become a new bingo hall, planners have decided.

An application for the former Kwik Save supermarket on Holker Street was unanimously passed by Barrow Council’s planning committee.

Cllr David Pidduck, the leader of Barrow Council, was the only public objector to the plans at the meeting.

He raised concerns from a resident about traffic, noise, rats, smoking and inconsiderate car parking on surrounding streets.

Cllr Pidduck, the Labour councillor for Hindpool, said there were concerns that if the car park got full, it would lead to free-for-all parking in the area.

“It’s a site that sits within three residential streets and near a residential home, and there are concerns about noise levels,” he said.

“Will noise come out of the building and cause disturbance to residents? We have a building here, in a residential area, with a licence for selling alcohol.

“That could put it on the map of Barrow’s night time economy.

“There’s a fear people will use it as an add-on pub.”

Applicants Graves Cumberland Ltd,  based in Workington, run the Opera bingo brand and plan to create 25 full and part-time jobs.

Nick Smith, managing director for Graves Cumberland, said its three bingo halls in other parts of Cumbria were seen as community assets.

He said they were “warm, friendly and safe” and provided important social interaction for people who lived on their own.

Mr Smith said: “It’s a significant investment in the area and will contribute to the local economy.

“ It will utilise and bring back to life an empty building. Hopefully once it is in operation any anti-social behaviour on the site should cease.

“In any case, we will have an experienced local manager and his team on site.

“That should also help alleviate any problems.

“There are no anti-social issues at any of our other clubs, and it is not generally an issue in bingo.

“Bingo is a form of social entertainment that doesn’t have a heavy drinking culture.”

Council planning officer Maureen Smith recommended that the committee approve the application.

She said: “We think this brings a vacant brownfield site in the town centre back into use. It has been empty for about nine years and councillors will be aware the site is starting to deteriorate.”

Planning committee chairwoman Ann Thomson said the Holker Street site had become “an absolute tip”.

“I think this is very sympathetic to the area and introduces far more greenery than what there is now,” said Cllr Thomson, the Labour councillor for Hindpool and deputy leader of Barrow council.