Plans to convert community centre in Hartlepool to help save town's Youth Justice Service
Plans have been lodged to convert a vacant former community centre into a facility to support and rehabilitate young people involved in anti-social behaviour and criminal activity.
Proposals have been submitted to Hartlepool Borough Council to allow the change of use of the former Jutland Road Community Centre to a Youth Justice Service facility.
It would be run by the council, who currently operate the service out of unit 1 Ladysmith Street, but are looking to relocate as the present rent is ‘unaffordable and poses a threat to the continuation of the service’, according to plans.
The Youth Justice Service is for young people involved in anti-social behaviour and offending and offers a variety of group programmes, activities, support and advice.
The existing community centre was built in the 1970s and in 2011 the building was let out by the council to a community group, but that ceased in late 2018 and the building has not been occupied since.
In a planning statement submitted by the council, the applicant for the proposals, states the move would safeguard the service and provide use for a vacant building.
It said: “Granting the application will allow a vacant building to be brought back into use and allow a well-used council service to continue operating.
“The council currently leases a unit from a private landlord, at a significant rent.
“Jutland Road Community Centre is an empty building owned by the council which meets the requirements of the service.
“Granting the planning application will safeguard the future of a well-used service in a user friendly location. It will also bring a vacant building back into use and circumvent the building becoming a target for anti-social behaviour.”
Plans state the centre would primarily be used as a base to deliver group work with young people aged 10-17 including basic cookery and independent living skills.
It would also deliver 1:1 intervention and training for young people in areas such as joinery.
The number of users would fluctuate depending on the session being delivered but it would not exceed 10 young people and a similar number for parents who may be accessing support.
Opening times would be Monday to Friday 8.30am until 6pm and Saturday 9am until 4pm, although this would vary depending on operational need, and six car parking spaces are proposed to be created.
A decision is expected to be made on the plans by the council planning department in December.
To comment on the application visit the Hartlepool Borough Council planning portal online and search reference number H/2019/0440.