Row over plan for £2m centre

Coun Mark Perks at Buckshaw Village Sports Pitches, Old Worden Avenue, Buckshaw Village''The popular sports pitches at Buckshaw Village are being taken over by the management company after the borough's leisure partners CLS terminated the contract.''CHORLEY

Coun Mark Perks at Buckshaw Village Sports Pitches, Old Worden Avenue, Buckshaw Village''The popular sports pitches at Buckshaw Village are being taken over by the management company after the borough's leisure partners CLS terminated the contract.''CHORLEY

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A ROW has broken out between Chorley Council and Lancashire County Council over plans to bring a £2m Youth Zone to the town.

Lancashire County Council approached the authority over plans for a youth centre on the former McDonald’s site on Market Street.

It is believed Chorley Council made certain demands as it has spent £185,000 on refurbishing the site and converting spare land into a car park.

The venue specifications would have seen facilities such as drama/sports hall, project rooms for dance, music, gym, kitchen/cafe facilities for training and provision around health information

It would have offered daytime, twilight and evening sessions and the centre made available to other voluntary, community groups.

In a letter to LCC, Chorley Council’s attached conditions to the project included retail ground floor shops they could lease, obtaining income from the handing over of LCC Connexions building and for LCC to contribute to build a games area on Coronation Recreation Ground.

LCC said it was not in a position to consider any proposals which involved investing in developments not directly specific to the youth zone and provision aimed at young people

County Coun Mark Perks, Cabinet member for young people at LCC, said: “We were willing to discuss further, but Chorley Council needed to move to where its proposals were acceptable to us.

“I find it tragic that Chorley Council, at a time of scare resources, have not taken up a fantastic opportunity of bringing in £2m of investment for a facility for young people.”

The county council has opened its Nelson Youth Zone costing £2m and has approved funding for schemes in Preston, West Lancashire (Skelmersdale), Burnley, Hyndburn YZ (Accrington), Fylde YZ(Kirkham), Wyre (Fleetwood) and Rossendale (Rawtenstall) – committing nearly £ 14m of investment.

Chorley Council leader Coun Alistair Bradley said: “I’m absolutely amazed that Coun Perks is claiming Chorley Council has blocked the use of the site for a youth zone as it was the county council who told us that they weren’t proceeding.

“We’d had an initial meeting, which was supposed to be confidential but Coun Perks has decided to go public, when it was suggested the former McDonald’s become a youth zone with retail units fronting Market Street. We supported this in principle and had a few requests in return for us providing the site for zero rental.

“We then heard nothing until being told the county council wasn’t proceeding. So I’m not sure what Coun Perks is trying to achieve by blaming us - he may want to check with his colleagues at the county council as to why they decided not to pursue it.”