Plans to convert former Hartlepool community centre in youth justice facility for youngsters involved in anti-social behaviour
Plans to convert a vacant former community centre into a facility to rehabilitate young people involved in anti-social behaviour have been recommended for the go-ahead.
Earlier this year proposals were submitted to Hartlepool Borough Council to allow the change of use of the former Jutland Road Community Centre to a Youth Justice Service facility.
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.
It would be run by the council, which currently operates the service out of unit 1 Ladysmith Street, but is looking to relocate as the present rent is ‘unaffordable and poses a threat to the continuation of the service’, according to plans.
However three objections have been submitted to the proposals from residents raising concerns of crime, anti-social behaviour and vandalism in the area.
The plans are due to go before the council planning committee next week for a decision and are recommended for the go-ahead.
A report from planning officer Stephanie Bell states she does not believe the move would have a detrimental impact on the area.
It said: “The principle of the proposed change of use is acceptable in this location.
“The proposals are not considered to have a significant detrimental effect with regards to the amenity of neighbouring occupiers, highway safety and parking, crime and community safety or flood risk.”
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 three written objections submitted to the council all raise concerns about existing anti-social behaviour and crime in the area and fears it could worsen with this development.
Resident Clifford Field said: “My point being it has been hard enough living in this area having to watch out constantly for the welfare of my family and property without having the local council ship young offenders from other war torn estates to our doorstep.
“I strongly object to these plans and believe they should be scrapped.”
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: “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.”
A decision will be made on the plans at the council planning committee on Wednesday, December 18, at 10am at the Civic Centre.