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AXMINSTER: Council: ‘We won’t let the town’s youth down’

Thursday, 04 September 2014

Axminster Town Council will seek interim responsibility of the Axminster Youth Centre building, aka Pippins - but reserves the right to pull out if the figures don’t add up. During the extra-ordinary meeting of the council on Tuesday of last week, it was decided to make a non-committing application and produce detailed costs in time for the full council meeting on Monday September 8th. If the town council assumes interim responsibility, it would give current tenant The Project (which supports young people with mental health issues) breathing space and a base for an emerging volunteer-based youth club. Mayor Jeremy Walden chaired the extra-ordinary meeting and made clear it had been called to deal with the short-term, not the long-term solution. The town council anticipates to assume interim responsibility for about six months at a predicted cost of about £10,000 - based on figures provided by DCC. There is a possibility, however, that DCC could provide a 50 per cent grant - which would mean the council would ‘only’ have to spend about £5,000. Councillor Walden told fellow councillors: “I suggest the town council agrees to register an interest and firms up figures for the next full meeting. “There is no commitment in registering an interest. “I reckon that is good value for the young people of the town, and it is money we have. “If youth provision is not provided, the youth of the town will feel let down.” Councillor Paul Hayward said: “I think for the young people of the town, it is a very good investment.” Councillor Mervyn Symes agreed by saying: “It is an excellent proposal.” The proposal was passed unanimously (with one abstentions because of a declared interest). Long-term expressions of interest have been submitted by a number of organisations, including a joint bid by Axe Valley Community College and Axminster Tools & Machinery plus a separate bid by Anna Jacobs of The Montessori Nursery Ltd. The joint bid would see an extension being built and a state-of the-art gym provided on the ground floor. This bid makes no provision for youth services. College headteacher Martin Smith attend the meeting and said that the ideal solution would be if the building could be used for youth services, describing the joint bid as “a Plan B”. The long-term selection process is handled by a panel of county councillors and county council officers.


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