Delay on youth club could cost

VITAL funds earmarked to redevelop Portishead's run down youth centre could be lost - unless work on the scheme gets under way soon. Leaders

VITAL funds earmarked to redevelop Portishead's run down youth centre could be lost - unless work on the scheme gets under way soon.Leaders at the Harbour Road youth centre say there is a real risk that unless work starts on the project shortly that money earmarked for the redevelopment by charities and local organisations may be lost.It is understood the total raised stands at around £830,000, with the total cost for phase one and two of the project topping £1.1 million.But some funders are now starting to ask questions about when work on the scheme, first announced in 2003, will actually start.Portishead Youth Centre Redevelopment Committee chairman The Bishop Roger Sainsbury said: "Some of the funders have written to ask when work on the project is going to start. I have written to our supporters assuring them that work will begin this financial year."However, there is a real fear that if the project is delayed any further then some of our funding could be lost."It could be that our funders say that if the money is not going to be used, it could be allocated to someone else."The money raised so far includes £350,000 from a 106 planning agreement with local developers, £100,000 from Portishead and North Weston Town Council and substantial grants from Yanley and North Somerset Environmental Company (YANSEC).Other cash has been pledged from the Government and the sell off from the authority's council houses and £50,000 has been fund-raised locally.The first phase of the work will see the entrance to the building remodelled with a new terrace, kitchen, reception, administration and cafe area.The second phase will see the hall and computer area upgraded.It was initially hoped work on the youth centre will start this autumn and be finished by October 2008.It is believed the delays have been caused by the new Conservative run council which has decided to re-scrutinise all of its large projects before giving them the green light.It is also understood there are issues with the architect and the fact the building is still leased to the management committee by North Somerset Council.North Somerset Council spokesman Richard Turner said: "It is still our aspiration to start work this financial year but we do not have a start date yet."We are still raising money and the council and the management committee is in discussions to resolve a number of technical issues."Once these issues are resolved we can move forward.


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