PROJECT UPDATE: Preston’s multi-million pound Youth Zone

Preston Youth Zone, artist's designs
Preston Youth Zone, artist's designs
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Handbrake still appears to be on delayed Youth Zone plans.

What are the plans?

The city’s multi-million pound Youth Zone project was tabled to be part of the £24m regeneration of the Preston bus station site.

What has happened since?

When the Conservatives took back control at County Hall last May, all major projects approved by the previous Labour regime were placed under review. Originally, the Youth Zone project was due to start in September 2017 with completion in early 2019. But nothing in terms of construction work has started.

Why the delay?

The county council had said late last year it intended to publish the tender documents in January 2018, the first step in formalising the operator of the site with charity OnSide - which operates similar facilities in Chorley and Wigan - expected to be the only interested party. Part of the delay was because of the decision to house the city’s youth offending team service in the new facility, the council added.

What is the latest?

Having said the tender documents were set to be published in January, this was then pushed back until February because of a “small administrative delay to the process” the county hall said “slightly later than originally planned.”

So the tendering process is now underway?

Well, perhaps not. The documents are yet to appear on the county council’s procurement section of its website and they are keeping tight-lipped about the further delay to the plans. A spokesperson said: “The procurement process to find an operator for the youth zone is still continuing.” But they did not specifically reveal whether the tender process has started or not. It means that the completion date, originally earmarked as January 2019, is looking unlikely.