Group refused permission to take on youth house short-term

By Harriet Ernstsons Friday 14 December 2012 Updated: 14/12 11:36

THE GROUP fighting to save Redditch Youth House has been refused permission to take on a three-month lease of the building.

Redditch Youth and Community Enterprise applied to Worcestershire County Council for a Meanwhile Lease to allow them to run the building from January to March next year while it puts together a business case to takeover the site permanently.

The Meanwhile Project is a Government scheme aimed at reducing the number of empty buildings while allowing small charities and community groups or social enterprises to make use of low cost spaces to promote their aims.

Councillors Greg Chance and Debbie Taylor, which represent the area the Youth House is based in on Redditch Borough Council, said they were concerned the doors of the centre could be shut at the coldest time of year while 'the bureaucrats shuffle paper'.

"If there are people willing to run the centre and people who need and want to use it why can't the county council join the dots and keep the venue open while RYCE put together a business plan, after all it will probably cost a lot of money to keep it boarded up.

"Come on county, don't be Scrooges, don't board up the Youth House and leave Redditch young people out in the cold.

"As central ward councillors we feel our ward is again taking the brunt of the cuts. The Redi Centre closed and now the Youth House is about to be boarded up, are we really all in this together?"

Coun David Thain, responsible for transformation and change on the county council, said the proposal to enter in to a short-term lease would lead to building management, health and safety and insurance issues.

"The county council is also in the process of entering in to contract to commission positive activities with a local provider and is keen not to do anything that may, or may be perceived to, prejudice their business plan.

"With the county council's assistance Barnardo's, who used the centre three Tuesdays a month, has relocated to the Arrowvale Youth Centre. The county council has endeavoured to support other groups during their transition period and will continue to do so."

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