Concerns raised over lack of youth provision in Hart District Council's draft corporate plan for the area
Councillors are calling for the inclusion of more youth provision in Hart’s draft corporate plan.
The corporate plan sets out how Hart District Council intends to play its role in improving, sustaining and promoting the social, economic and environmental wellbeing of the communities in the borough during the next three years.
A two-month public consultation was launched at the end of last month to obtain feedback from residents and community groups before the council is asked to adopt a final version of the plan in December.
Blackwater and Hawley Town Council has written to Hart District Council raising concerns over a lack of youth provision in the draft plan.
Councillor Jeffrey Smith, a member of the town council, said: “The one thing we noticed they did not include was youth provision.
“They mention old people, but there is no vision for young people and we would like to have some of that included in the plan.”
Cllr Smith is trying to set up a youth bus service, which would provide portable activities, information and advice for young people across the area. The town council is keen to see the district council play a part in bringing the service to fruition.
The district council’s previous corporate plan expired last year.
Within the draft for the new corporate plan, the council aims to complete the restoration of Fleet Pond within the next three years and hopes to secure green flag status for it.
It also wants to reduce antisocial behaviour by 10% and violence associated with the night-time economy by 8%, as well as replacing Hart Leisure Centre, in Fleet, and upgrading Frogmore Leisure Centre, in Yateley.
The council wants to reduce dog fouling in the area by 40%, increase its recycling rates by 1% a year and agree a programme to install electric vehicle recharging points in the district by next year.
In a bid to encourage high quality housing development to meet local needs, the council hopes to deliver 300 affordable homes within local plan targets.
Councillor Geoff Bonner, leader of Hart District Council, said: “It is a consultation and what we will be doing is taking these concerns back to the cabinet.”
He said that Hart District Council worked closely with young people on a regular basis.
“We run apprenticeship schemes for young people but that is not a new promise for the future – it is ongoing,” Cllr Bonner said. “Also, there is a lot of discussion going on between the leisure centre in Fleet and young people – and young people are more likely to use that.
“It is youth provision but is not branded as so in the plan.”
Cllr Adrian Collett, chairman of Blackwater and Hawley Town Council, agreed that the leisure centres in Fleet and Yateley could offer opportunities for young people but the big problem was cost.
“A lot of 15 and 16-year-olds cannot afford to pay for gym memberships or sports sessions without the help of their parents,” he said.
“The sports centres on their own are a good idea but they are not a solution to youth provision.”