Youth zone a perfect place for youngsters

Pub use: Councillors Peter Wilson and Matthew Tomlinson at the proposed site
Pub use: Councillors Peter Wilson and Matthew Tomlinson at the proposed site

Young people in Chorley could soon have ‘world class’ facilities to keep them entertained with Chorley Council due to set the ball rolling on a £4m development for the borough.

Councillors will be asked to agree to start the process tonight, Tuesday, at Chorley Council’s Full Council meeting for securing a site for the centre providing activities seven days-a-week to children and young adults.

If approved the site would incorporate the Leigh Arms/Station Hotel pub and the neighbouring Arts Partnership building.

Coun Alistair Bradley, leader of Chorley Council, said: “I’m delighted that we’re in a position now where we can take a decision on the future of the youth zone.

“All partners have been working together to come up with a proposal that would provide a brilliant base for young people’s activities across the borough.”

It is proposed the youth zone is created in partnership with Onside Youth Zones, the Arts Partnership and Lancashire County Council to make it happen.

The facilities would include a sports hall, performing arts area, martial arts space, a base for the Arts Partnership, fitness suite, kick pitch and other activity rooms.

Support and advice on matters such as careers, education and lifestyles is also available.

“There’s still a long way to go but this is an important first step in agreeing to start work on delivering the youth zone,” said Coun Bradley.

Matthew Tomlinson, Lancashire County council’s cabinet member for children, young people and schools, said: “If approved, this will be a superb facility for all young people in Chorley.

“It will be an excellent place for them to have fun and learn new skills.”

Leader of the opposition, Coun Mark Perks, said: “In February 2013 the county council announced it was to investments some £ 2.6m for a Youth Zone to operate in the Central Library and at no cost to Chorley Council tax

payers.

“21 months later, no agreement has been reached, our group supports the principle of a LCC Youth Zone scheme.

“This is a high risk strategy and unnecessary, the council intends to buy a pub and demolish it along with the community centre owned by the Arts Partnership which is in a conservation area.”