Ottery Council to postpone plans for youth facility

The Town Council agreed to put plans for the creation of a drop-in centre in Ottery on the ‘back-burner’ after advice from Devon Youth Services.

Councillors have been looking into helping provide a facility for young people in Ottery St Mary since last year, when plans to convert the Flexton were approved, but at Monday’s meeting it was decided the youth centre was catering for the needs of youths.

Lisa Rutter, who works for Devon Youth Services at the county council, gave a presentation to the Town Council explaining the role of her department in the town, and also the cutbacks which could affect them.

She informed councillors that although there is a 20 to 25 per cent budget cut and staffing levels are being reduced the two senior nights the Station youth Centre puts on are full to capacity with around 70 young people attending sessions.

But she made it clear funding would be very difficult to acquire from Devon County Council in the current climate. After a last-minute bid, �3,000 was made available last year for the conversion of the Town Council toilets into a centre for youngsters to socialise, but residents’ complaints rendered the location of the scheme untenable.

The council had since been looking at utilising Feoffee Hall, but agreed on Monday to put off plans until they saw the effect of the changes to Devon Youth Services’ provision in the town.

Mayor Glyn Dobson said: “I think we’ll go ahead and put it on the back burner for a while as they’re doing a good job [at the Youth Centre] and we could do more harm than good by splitting the young people up.”