Ambitious plans to create a £250,000 youth hub have been revealed by St Nicholas’ Church in Haxey.
The church-affiliated scouting and girl guiding groups will share a purpose-designed and equipped home with the church’s own youth groups in a disused workshop unit in the High Street.
Plans for the new facilities include large and small halls, a chill-out zone and an indoor climbing wall.
Subject to planning consent and the usual contractual arrangements the church has agreed to buy the former workshop of Haxey Engineering adjacent to the Memorial Hall in the centre of the village.
The building has not been in use for some years.
Many people in the village view it as a run-down eyesore and would welcome it being brought back into full use.
The project has widespread support within the community.
The girl guiding groups and the youth group currently make use of the church hall in the grounds of the Grade I listed church; the scouts have their own building in the same grounds.
The church hall needs some updating and refurbishment, while the scout hut occupies some land that is earmarked for burials as the churchyard runs out of space.
The prefabricated scout hut is in poor condition, beyond economic repair and has reached the end of its useful life.
Access to the current site is along a narrow lane and can sometimes be difficult. Alongside this project the scout hut will be demolished, the church hall will be refurbished and additional parking will be created at the church.
The project has been more than eight years in the planning. After a number of false starts it is hoped that the hub will provide a secure future for the groups for many years to come.
Parish families worker Paul Taylor is excited about the prospects this project raises, he said: “In these times of austerity and cuts to the youth and children’s provision by local government this is a much-needed and very welcome investment in the children and young people of Haxey and Westwoodside.
“We are very enthusiastic about the opportunities these first class facilities will present to promote the development of young people and empower them to achieve their full physical, intellectual, social and spiritual potential as members of the community.”
Haxey Parish Council has raised no objections to the proposal, while North Lincolnshire Council’s highways development assistant Diane Langton said that the existing parking facilities should be retained at all times.
North Lincolnshire Council has received numerous letters of support for the plans, Mrs Emma Jackson of Fox Covert Lane in Misterton said: “It is essential that we keep these sort of clubs running to support the local community and children of the local community.”
Miss Francessca Sowerby of Bagsby Road, Owston Ferry said: “The scouts team and other associated bodies is such a fabulous thing for the community. It gives children opportunies that parents may not be able to provide and supports healthy morals which can only uphold a community in the long run. These premises would be ideal in supporting these ideals and help secure haxey and surrounding areas a strong community as children are the future.”
Mrs Fay Masters of Southmoor Road, Walkeringham said: “Without this planning permission being granted my child will no longer be able to attend their scouting group, as the current building will no longer be available for their use. I travel from Walkeringham to take them as I feel my child benefits from attending and it would be such a shame if the group cannot continue. Rural villages need things for the youth to do in and around their local area.”
Adam Conley of the council’s environmental health office expressed concern about the application, he said: “The proposed development is in close proximity to residential dwellings. This department is concerned that noise from the activities at the proposed youth club and from the coming and goings of patrons using the facility may impact on residential amenity.”
It was recommended that conditions should be put in place if the application is approved including the restriction of opening hours between 8am and 9pm, Monday to Sunday.
Subject to approval, it is hoped that the youth hub will be opened by Easter 2018.