The former Hippodrome on London’s Leicester Square was last night given the go-ahead for conversion to a casino.

Westminster City Council granted planning permission for the grade II-listed building to change from a nightclub to a casino and for a Chinese community centre to be created on the site.

The proposed scheme by United Leisure Gaming was supported by English Heritage, the Victoria Society and the Westminster Society.

The proposals are mainly internal, although they also include the repair and restoration of the building facades.

The floorspace will be extended by 1,819 sq ft (169 sq m) and the original auditorium space will be reinstated by removing the suspended ceiling built in 1957. The proscenium arch and stage space will be restored to the position held in 1909 and the balconies, bottle balustrading and plasterwork will also be restored.

An additional entrance will be created at the back of the building in Little Newport Street. The main gaming floor will be on the ground floor with a hospitality suite in the basement and a restaurant and bar on the first floor.

A new mezzanine level will also be introduced with a live entertainment stage.

United Leisure Gaming will pay £8,450 towards installing CCTV in Leicester Square, and the freeholder Gascoyne Holdings will pay £20,000 towards the Chinese community centre.

Scott Brownrigg is the architect and Montagu Evans advised on the planning application.