Plans have been approved for the former waiting room at Morecambe Bus Station to be used to provide a hangout shelter for young people.
The city council-owned building, which is situated close to an existing skate park and Morecambe town centre, has fallen into disrepair having not functioned as a bus shelter for a number of years.
In April this year the council’s cabinet agreed to using the former bus station building for the purpose of a dedicated youth hangout area.
The aim would be to provide those already using it as an informal gathering place and other young people with somewhere safe to socialise with their friends and reduce the likelihood of them using anti-social behaviour hotspots in the town.
Having been approved this week by the council’s planning committee, the change of use will see refurbishment of the building prior to it being brought into formal use.
This will include full decoration with design input from local youth groups and the installation of new windows and wifi.
This use of the building will be subject to a regular management regime by both the city council’s Anti-Social Behaviour Team and the Lancashire Constabulary Neighbourhood Policing Team to ensure the safety and security of those using the space and surrounding residents.
The building will also be the subject of regular maintenance to ensure that it remains a suitable and attractive space for those using it both day and night.
Some improvement work has already been undertaken to the fabric of the building and further refurbishment work will start soon.
Coun Brendan Hughes, cabinet member for community safety, said: “Having established there is a strong community demand in this area for diversionary activities for young people and for somewhere safe and well managed where they can meet their friends and congregate away from unsuitable locations, the proposal presents the perfect opportunity to test the impact such places have on reducing anti-social behaviour and if positive, will support a future determination of wider provision of hangout areas.”
To help the council identify locations where it might develop safe, attractive and fun places for young people to relax and hang-out with their friends, an ‘Our Space, Our Way’ survey has been launched. Everyone between the age of 11 and 19 is invited to take part and can do so online at www.lancaster.gov.uk/ourspace