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Thursday, 23 October 2014

Askam teenagers design their own place to hang out

TEENAGERS in a Furness village have been making sure that future generations have a safe place to hang out.

The Askam Youth Café project is gathering speed, as final plans are due to be submitted to Barrow Borough Council this week.

And the Askam Young People’s Committee has been instrumental in the design of the £170,000 centre.

As part of the plans, the Askam railway station building will be transformed into a multi-purpose youth facility and café.

The deputy mayor of Barrow, Councillor Jill Heath, who lives in Askam, has championed the project from the initial stages.

She said: “The young people in the village arealways asking me how long it will be until it is built.

“The work that the youths’ have put into it show how much they value the community.

“They’ve put some good ideas into the project, things we hadn’t even thought of.”

Funding for the project has come from various borough and county council sources, as well as a 40 per cent allocation from the Railway Heritage Trust.

Cllr Heath said: “We’ve had a few plans drawn up before, but then Railway Heritage Trust offered to stump up 40 per cent of the capital money as long as we worked with them to keep it in-keeping with the station, because it is a listed building.

“It will have all of the same features, but with the new plans we can’t open the room up like we wanted to, for gigs and such-like.

Cllr Heath and the rest of the project team could now face a 13-week wait to find out if planning permission has been granted, due to the building’s listed status.

She also said work could begin immediately if the application is successful.

Angela Knowles, rural projects officer for Barrow Borough Council, has overseen the project.

She said: “Projects of this nature can take a long time.

“Putting in for planning permission is a very important milestone.

“The young people are the driving unit, but it is about bringing a community building back into use.”

The youth café is set to include a café bar, a sports room with table football and darts, and an IT room with access to the internet. There are also plans for a games console room and a quiet room with sofas, bean bags, a plasma television, Sky television and a DVD player.

In another change to original plans, Cllr Heath said the project team will focus on getting the youth element of the centre up and running first, before looking into opening the café for other purposes.

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