Councillors to consider plans for state-of-the-art Youth Zone in Basildon

Basildon councillors are set to consider a planning application to site the county’s first ever Youth Zone in Basildon town centre.

The proposals, submitted by the national charity OnSide Youth Zones, will be heard at a meeting of the planning committee on Tuesday March 16.

Late last year Basildon residents were invited to have their say on plans. The £8.4million facility is proposed to be located in the town centre, in the car park opposite Trafford House as part of regeneration plans for Basildon town centre. It will be delivered by OnSide, which is working in partnership with Basildon Council.

The facility will offer young people aged 8-19 (and up to 25 for those with additional needs) 20 activities each evening for just 50p. These include:

  • 4-court indoor sports hall 
  • Indoor climbing wall 
  • Super Fitness Suite, combining state-of-the-art gym equipment with boxing and martial arts facilities 
  • Performing arts studio 
  • Music suite with instruments and recording equipment 
  • Large open plan recreation area 
  • Project rooms, including arts, crafts, health, wellbeing and fashion 
  • Film and multi-media facilities 
  • Teaching/mentoring kitchen 
  • Café serving hot nutritious meals (costing no more than £1) 
  • Multi use games area/kick pitch with floodlights 
  • Break out room to include activities such as employability workshops, general and gender specific health/youth issue topics/projects and youth participation 
  • Leader of Basildon Council, Cllr Gavin Callaghan added: “This Youth Zone will be the best thing to happen to young people in this borough for decades and will change the culture of youth services for good.

“It will also be an integral part of our vision to transform Basildon town centre which is bouncing back with the creation of 5,000 new jobs, a new multi-use arena, outdoor entertainment, more cultural spaces and activity, along with more restaurants, shops and a mix of independent retailers.”

Chairman of Neighbourhoods and Public Spaces Committee, Cllr David Harrison said: “This is an exciting milestone for the project. A Youth Zone will have a huge impact on the borough and provide excellent opportunities for our young people that are currently not available.”

A spokesperson for OnSide Youth Zones added: “OnSide Youth Zones offer young people safe and aspirational places to spend their leisure time. We are really excited by the plans we have submitted.”

Basildon Youth Zone will operate as an independent charity and will be built upon OnSide’s successful Youth Zone model, which has 14 similar centres operating across the country.

It will cost an estimated £1.3million per year to run, of which Basildon Council will contribute £400,000 in addition to £4.1million towards the building costs. Prior to opening, OnSide Youth Zones will fundraise for the first three years from a combination of private sector contributions and accessing charitable trusts and grants.

Local young people will be put at the heart of the project from the start with OnSide setting up a Young People’s Development Group which will make several key decisions for the Youth Zone, from naming the Youth Zone and deciding on its branding to interviewing potential staff members.

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Mick Ferris

Editor Email: [email protected]