Looking for an operator for Preston Youth Zone

Friday, April 06, 2018

The next stage of plans to acquire an operator for the Preston Youth Zone will be discussed at a Lancashire County Council meeting later this month.

The new Youth Zone building would sit alongside the iconic Grade-II listed bus station, which is currently undergoing a multi-million pound renovation and redevelopment.

Cabinet will meet on Thursday 12 April, where councillors will be asked to agree the process for acquiring an operator.

Following a decision taken by the Cabinet last year, The Youth Offending Team will also be located in the new building. Design changes have been made to the plans, to accommodate the current and future requirements of this service.

The overall cost estimate for the construction of the new building has been reviewed due to the revised design, inflation and an enhanced specification for the cladding - following recommendations from specialist consultants. All of these factors have increased construction costs.

If agreed by Cabinet, the new operator will take on the operational and financial risk associated with the running of the Youth Zone.

The majority of the total cost would still be funded by the county council, with around £2.6m provided by the future operator, as outlined in the procurement documents.

This is likely to be funded through contributions from sponsors, the private sector and parts of the public sector, as well as charging a fee for young people to access the activities.

Geoff Driver CBE, leader of the county council, said: "We recognise that this would be a welcome asset for young people, and we've already shown a significant and continuing financial commitment to the provision of a Preston Youth Zone.

"However, in common with all county council budgets, we have to make sure that we're keeping a close eye on these plans to get the right financial arrangements in place.

"In light of increased costs and changes since the start of this project, we can’t simply commit the county council to more spending on the Youth Zone, it's important that any operator also takes their share of the risk and responsibility."

The Grade-II listed bus station has been owned by Lancashire County Council since November 2013. The multi-million pound redevelopment has included concrete repairs, the refurbishment of the car park with new lighting, fencing and glazing.

Better lighting has been added in the bus station concourse, stairways and car park levels. CCTV has also been upgraded to cover all areas of the bus station. New lifts have been installed and the walkway to the Guild Hall has been renovated.

The bus stands have all been relocated to the east side of the building, new seating has been added and more space has been created to make it easier for people to get around. On the former bus apron, a new square will improve access to and from the bus station, along with outdoor seating.

A new coach station is being created at the south end of the building, towards the Guild Hall, with external coach bays and new facilities within the bus station itself.

Tagged as: Young People

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