Hope for new youth and community hub for New Milton on greenbelt land off Gore Road
“EXCITED” New Milton councillors are eyeing a plot of greenbelt land behind a restaurant to host a new youth and community hub.
The development – expected to cost between £500,000 and £1m – would mark the return of a major youth facility to the town after it lost use of the Phoenix Centre in 2017.
A consultant has been engaged to help prepare an outline planning application to New Forest District Council which, if approved, would allow purchase of the site off Gore Road and removal of the protected status.
As reported in the A&T, Hampshire County Council sold off the Culver Road building, which had hosted a youth centre for 30 years, and the town council has been looking for a new site ever since.
Previous possibilities explored included an undisclosed plot of land near Fawcett's Field along the A337 Christchurch Road.
The proposal for the new site behind The Barn restaurant is to create a facility for wider use for youth, family and community.
“We’re very excited,” town council planning committee chair Cllr Steve Clarke told the A&T.
“This is something that we’ve wanted to do ever since the Phoenix Centre was lost to us. Now a new centre for the town is within our grasp.
“This will bring more facilities not only to our young people, but to our families as well.”
The town council hopes to gain the outline approval by early 2022 when a working party will be set up to shape the development and prepare a full planning application.
As recommended by amenities committee members, the working party would include representatives from New Milton Residents’ Association and other stakeholders, as well as the New Milton Youth Trust which would raise funds.
Hoping the new facility could be up and running within 18 months to two years, Cllr Clarke suggested it could serve young families in a similar way to the Ashley Family Hub.
Run by Ashley Infant School, Ashley Junior School, Ashley Baptist Church and the Arnewood School, the service helps families access help and advice in their community.
“The new centre should provide a good focus for families in that area of the town,” Cllr Clarke continued.
“It would also be used in the evenings for younger people in a modern approach for youth-type work.”