THE old Poundstretcher shop in Hereford looks like becoming an indoor leisure centre, with bowling, laser and soft play among the attractions.

Planners are recommending approval of a scheme to change the use of the store at 41 Eign Gate from retail to leisure.

The idea is to create a leisure facility with soft play, minigolf, an arcade, laser tag, bowling, a function area and an ancillary café, plus bar on the first floor.

Although aimed at people of all age ranges, the focus would be on children, teenagers, young adults and families.

Agent Matt Tompkins has submitted the plan on behalf of applicants Mr & Mrs T McGee, and Herefordshire Council planners are supporting the scheme.

They say the chances of getting a new shop in the building are limited, and this scheme creates jobs and helps revitalise a struggling area of the city centre.

The shop unit of 1200 square metres has been empty for 18 months and all attempts to find a new tenant have failed.

Planners say successful city centres nowadays contain a mix of shops, leisure and food and drink outlets, and this development would complement what is already there.

Their report says the proposal 'exhibits substantial benefits', including:

• Bring a vacant building back into a use in an area of the city centre

suffering from a lack of footfall and investment;

• It would complement local retail provision and potentially help to revitalise other economic activity in the vicinity;

• Leisure uses should be in town centre locations rather than out-of-centre ;

• Leisure is being cited as fundamental to the vitality and viability of successful town centres.

• Eight full-time jobs created.

They do not identify any major disadvantages.

The consultation period runs until May 26.