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End of the road for Preston Youth Zone plans

Posted on - 17th January, 2019 - 7:00am | Author - | Posted in - Preston Bus Station, Preston City Centre, Preston Council, Preston News, Redevelopment
A new view of the Youth Zone standing to one side of the Bus Station
Plans for the Youth Zone have been scrapped

Preston will not have its own Youth Zone, it has been confirmed.

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Leaders say young people have been ‘let down by politicians’ after it emerged the Lancashire County Council has now completely shelved plans to provide the facility for young people to attend, engage and be educated in Preston.

Following a heated meeting at County Hall in August, leader of the council county councillor Geoff Driver said the council would continue to look for an alternative site for the scheme, after plans to locate the building at the Bus Station’s western apron were shelved.

Now, a spokesman for Lancashire County Council has confirmed the plans have reached the end of the road for any site in Preston.

Read more: Preston Youth Zone has been scrapped despite protests

He said: “The county council is not currently looking to provide a Youth Zone in Preston, but we will continue to work with partners to provide services for young people in Preston.” 

County Councillor Jennifer Mein, former Labour leader of the council, said: “The impression given was that they would carry on looking for alternative sites. We always suspected that was a way of calming things down.

“They gave the impression they were not going with the bus station but were willing to discuss alternatives.

“It is an appalling situation. I don’t know where we go from here.

“I would be looking very carefully at the budget around family wellbeing services to see what early action can be provided from that.”

Councillor Matthew Brown, Leader of Preston City Council said: “We still believe that a Youth Zone would be a fantastic asset for Preston and are disappointed that Lancashire County Council have been unable to come to a solution.

“We are continuing to work with partners to find a suitable, sustainable location for a Youth Zone but face an uphill battle, with significant budget restrictions and limited resources to offer.”

Read more: How Preston reacted to the Youth Zone announcement

History of a youth zone for Preston

Plans to create a multi-million pound youth zone, housing activities and resources for young people in Preston were first put forward in 2009.

In 2012 a site was identified in Bow Lane.

But in 2014 the Labour administration moved the scheme to the Bus Station, where it would be easily accessible to young people who rely on public transport.

Plans were drawn up to partner with the charity OnSide to run the Youth Zone.

Read: This is how Preston Bus Station’s western edge may look

A revised proposal for the Youth Zone under the Conservative administration from May 2017 failed to attract any organisations or businesses due to concerns over the length of leases and the relocating of Youth Offending facilities to the site.

Protestors gathered outside the meeting at County Hall in a bid to try to save the youth zone, but councillors decided to scrap the Bus Station-based scheme. But at the time said they were still engaging with providers about next steps.

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