Preston's Youth Zone project hit by further delay

Designs for Preston Youth Zone
Designs for Preston Youth Zone

Preston’s troubled Youth Zone project is facing a further delay as the process to find its operator will not open until next month.

The Lancashire Post revealed in December the plans had been beset by delays and the target start date for construction had been pushed back.

County Hall bosses have now said the tendering procedure will begin in February, one month later than originally stated.

A spokesman said: “There has been a small administrative delay to this process, which means that the tender documents are now expected to be published next month, slightly later than originally planned.”

READ MORE: Youth Zone project delayed

Lancashire County Council leader Coun Geoff Driver had previously said the authority’s desire to house the Youth Offending Team service within the Youth Zone “had an influence on the timing of the procurement.”

He said: “ The service operator will work alongside the Preston Youth Offending Team, which will also be located within the Youth Zone building. Once the procurement has concluded, the final design of the new building will be agreed.”

The new building is part of the wider £24m regeneration of the city’s bus station site, providing facilities for young people including sports, arts and music at an estimated cost of £6.9m.

The design follows the template of nearby Wigan, Bolton and Chorley youth zones, run by charity OnSide.

READ MORE: Sneak peek inside £4.8m Chorley Youth Zone

OnSide is seen as a frontrunner to become operator for the Preston site but will have to apply for the contract as part of the tender process.

County Hall has also stated that the final design of the building would not require further planning permission as any tweaks would be incorporated within the guidelines of the previous approval.