Toilet transformation hope for Ottery teens

SHUT toilets are on the verge of being transformed into a purpose-designed hub for Ottery teenagers.

Loos and fixtures at the Flexton could be ripped out and replaced by a drop-in centre where youngsters can socialise after a last-gasp bid for �3,000 proved successful. Civic leaders now face a race against time to spend the cash and secure an extra �500 to make the project a reality. Town councillors will discuss the matter tonight (Monday).

Youngsters have been promised a say on what goes in the proposed new facility.

Ottery’s young people’s champion Councillor Roger Giles submitted the funding bid just a day before the deadline for applications passed. Cash must be spent by March 31 next year.

“This is wonderful news, especially so at a time of severe cuts to local government services, Cllr Giles told the Herald.

“There is much to do in a short time scale. I believe we have a wonderful opportunity to provide a much needed facility for our young people. I hope very much the town council will seize this opportunity enthusiastically, and show that it can bring another scheme to fruition to add to its recent admirable list of accomplishments.

“If the project is to be a success it is vitally important young people take ownership to deliver it, and act responsibly when using it. From what I know of local youngsters they would certainly do so.

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“I see it as a coffee bar type thing, with comfy chairs and settees. Young people will have a say what goes in there, we want them to be involved.”

The Herald reported last month how it was hoped the proposed �4,000 project will cut down teen anti-social behaviour, drug and alcohol issues and criminal activity by giving them “somewhere to go”. Fifteen to 18-year-olds would be attracted to the proposed hub according to Mr Giles.

If made a reality, toilet fittings will be removed, flooring put down, water and electricity supplies adapted and furniture and catering-type equipment added, said the councillor.