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Rising costs put a stop to Preston Youth Zone plans

Lancashire County Council’s Cabinet decided earlier today (Thursday 9 August) to bring a halt to the proposed youth zone at Preston Bus Station.

At the meeting, they also agreed to “explore with stakeholders what will work in the current environment”.

The council will now extend the planned new public space outside the bus station.

County Councillor Geoff Driver CBE, leader of the county council said: “We’re disappointed that no organisations or businesses have applied to operate the youth zone, which would have aimed to provide high-quality services for young people.

“We recognise that this would have been a welcome asset for young people in the area and we’ve shown a significant and continuing financial commitment to the provision of a Preston Youth Zone for a number of years.

“Indeed, in 2012 we cleared a site on Bow Lane and set aside the necessary funds to construct a youth zone, in line with OnSide’s well-established model. However in 2014 those plans were scrapped and it was decided to erect a much more expensive youth zone on the bus station site.

“In light of increased costs and changes since the start of this project, we simply cannot commit to more spending. We’ve taken a look at the costs and the implications for the council and made our decision based on that.

“Today’s decision has given us an opportunity to extend our plans for the public space outside the bus station. We’ll now be aiming to develop this space for everyone to use and enjoy.”

The youth zone would have been situated in a new stand-alone building on the former bus station apron. The county council is now planning to extend the proposed new public space between the bus station and Tithebarn Street.

Councillor Driver added: “We’ve already carried out a major redevelopment of the bus station and multi-storey car park, which has transformed this iconic building and the surrounding area, benefitting people who use it and increasing access.

“We’re now looking to continue the improvements that have already taken place in this area of the city centre.”

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