Calls for proposals for Hanley youth hub to be scrapped

Thursday, July 4th, 2019 12:26pm

By Jenny Bonson & Joe Burn, Local Democracy Reporter

A motion is to be tabled at a Stoke-on-Trent City Council meeting later, calling for proposals for a youth hub for Hanley to be scrapped.

Two Labour councillors, Jane Ashworth and Alastair Watson, are calling for an end to the ‘unsuitable’ £3.25 million scheme on the former East-West precinct.

Wider plans for the site and adjoining former bus station include a 3,500-seater indoor arena, a public square and a hotel.

The Labour group – which supports the overall regeneration of the area – says young people would not travel to a youth hub Hanley.

Instead it wants the cash to be spent on youth services across Stoke-on-Trent’s six towns.

Labour leader Councillor Mohammed Pervez said: “During the recent city council election, time and again residents raised concerns with us on the doorstep about the lack of youth services within their local areas and parents were totally dismayed by the plan to invest in a single youth hub in the city centre.

“Quite simply, they do not feel Hanley is a desirable or safe location for their children to visit in the evenings. Our broken local bus network won’t help young people get to the venue either.”

The youth hub plan was approved by the then City Independents-Conservative coalition last October.

City Independents leader Ann James, who is no longer council leader following May’s election results, said: “We already had youth hubs in all six towns until Labour closed them all. We’ve got one in Packmoor that’s still empty.

“We want to reopen something that they closed years ago.”

Conservative councillor Daniel Jellyman, who is the cabinet member for regeneration, said: “In the proposal spoken about at previous full council meetings, there is a guarantee in there that the council wouldn’t close any existing youth facilities.

“The money for the youth hub is the starter money for greater things in the area.

“If you’re going to take that money away from the site, you’re going to leave it empty.

“It was a key election promise of ours and we are determined to see it through.”

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