Gaming lounge plan for former town centre discount shop

The former Thing-Me-Bobs in Sudbury which could becoming a gaming lounge. Picture: QD GROUP

The former Thing-Me-Bobs in Sudbury which could becoming a gaming lounge. Picture: QD GROUP - Credit: QD Group

The boarded-up former Thing-Me-Bobs discount shop in Sudbury town centre could be turned into a late-night gaming bar.

The store, in the Borehamgate centre, closed last summer following a row between parent company the QD Group and landlords Babergh District Council, which owns the shopping complex.

Now, the shop could re-open as a haven for online gamers following an application by Caffeine Lounge Ltd run by William Ward, who has applied to the council to convert the shop into an e-sports lounge fitted with gaming computers and consoles and serving hot food and alcoholic drinks.

Mr Ward, of Sible Hedingham, near Sudbury, could not be contacted for comment but in his application said the terminals would have 1Gb per second of internet speed.

“This will enable players in the gaming community as either individuals or teams to participate in various competitions to be run locally, nationally and internationally,” he said.

Mr Ward said the lounge would aim to encourage universities and other educational establishments to run game design workshops, and would offer gaming days for the disabled with the aid of a charity like Special Effect using modified equipment.

A TV screen would also live stream gaming events from around the world.

Mr Ward’s application said opening times had still to be decided but the initial application would be from 9am to 3am Monday to Sunday “to cover all eventualities”.

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However they would vary according to occasionally hosting intermnational competitions in different time zones around the world such as the US and the Far East.

“The atmosphere we want is that of a fun and relaxing place for customers to hang out on the sofas or chairs and tables to enjoy a new and exciting experience where they can interact with gamers from around the world,” he said.

The application has yet to be heard by the council and is not expected to come up until the summer.

The Borehamgate centre is in the Hamilton Road quarter of the town centre, which Babergh wants to see converted into a culture and leisure area - although the plans are still in development.

John McMillan, president of Sudbury Chamber of Commerce, gave the Caffeine Lounge plan a cautious welcome.

“Certainly the town centre, like so many, is moving towards being a place of entertainment and if this does bring people in then that can only be a good thing,” he said.

“The question that has to be asked is does it keep the town moving and alive? The devil will be in the detail though.”

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