Plans for youth complex on track

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PLANS for a £5m youth centre in Airedale are still firmly on track according to a report to council chiefs.

A report to next week’s Wakefield Council’s cabinet says proposals for The Hut – a state-of-the-art youth complex at Hill Top – continue to be developed in conjunction with Chrysalis Youth and Community Project and are expected to be completed by June 2012.

The centre aims to give young people a ‘one-stop shop’ of services, advice and information, plus access to sport, arts, and recreational activities.

Coun Pat Garbutt, cabinet member for children and young people said: “We have a wonderful opportunity to provide a world class facility for young people in Airedale in partnership with Chrysalis and other service providers.

“The centre will make a huge difference to young people in the Five Towns area and we want them to be involved in all aspects of the project’s development.”

Plans for the project were given a boost in 2009 with the multi-million pound award from the former government’s Myplace programme.

It was put on hold last May but it was announced in December that full capital funding would still be available for the project, which is expected to be officially confirmed at the end of this month.

Neil Kennedy, general manager of Chrysalis, said: “Everything is still on track but we won’t get full confirmation until the end of the month.

“I’m hopeful it will happen, I think if it doesn’t everybody will be disappointed. We’re looking forward to it starting, fingers crossed we should start construction in June.”

The Myplace project was devised to increase the number of youth facilities and help reduce the number of youngsters not in education, employment or training (NEETs).

Additional plans for a learning academy at The Hut, aimed at 14-19 year olds, were axed at the end of last year after the Department of Education clawed back £660,000 in funding.