Youth centre change moves a step closer

The Phoenix Centre.
The Phoenix Centre.

Work on the proposed expansion and renovation of the Phoenix Youth Centre in Daventry is close to starting following a decision by Daventry District Council (DDC).

Councillors backed a business plan for the work planned for the centre, including a grant from Sport England to help pay for the renovation.

A report written by DDC’s business manager Simon Bowers stated: “Approval of the business plan will enable the club to deliver its project in the most cost effective way including affordable construction project management and additional ‘added value’ as is described in the business plan.

“A project of the nature outlined in this business plan is never without risk.

“However, working in partnership with the club should result in valuable improvements and increased provision of sports and youth facilities to the residents of Daventry district.”

DDC leases the Phoenix Centre building to the club for a peppercorn rent. The current lease runs to 2043.

The major refurbishment will cost around £1.5 million. It will see the dedicated gymnastics hall being extended to provide floor-level trampolines and additional space and equipment, as well as improved facilities for those with disabilities.

There will also be a full refurbishment of the youth centre resource to enable the Phoenix to provide more comprehensive facilities for the young people of Daventry.

The business plan was approved at a meeting of DDCs strategy group on Thursday last week.

The centre is widely used by young people with more than 36,500 visits per year. It hopes with the expansion to increase the visits to around 50,000. The president of the Phoenix Youth Centre, Elaine Bedford, said she was cautiously optimistic about the expansion.

She added: “This is not a definite yes for us but it is very important step forward in the right direction.”

Following the decision, it will now need to be ratified at a full meeting of DDC likely to be held in either May or June.

It is anticipated that should the final details be ironed out then work will start in the spring next year.