COUNCIL bosses are set to discuss plans for an £8.4m youth zone in the heart of Basildon.

Plans for the youth zone, off Ashdon Way, will be discussed by Basildon Council on March 16, with the building to cost £1.3million a year to run.

The council will contribute £400,000 towards the running costs, alongside spending £4.1million on building the centre.

The proposals have been submitted by charity Onside Youth Zones, who operate 14 similar centres across the UK.

The facility will offer young people aged 8-19 (and up to 25 for those with additional needs) 20 activities each evening for just 50p.

Some of the facilities include:

  • Four court indoor sports hall
  • Indoor climbing wall
  • Fitness Suite, combining state-of-the-art gym equipment with boxing and martial arts facilities
  • Performing arts studio
  • Music suite with instruments and recording equipment
  • Large open plan recreation area
  • Project rooms, including arts, crafts, health, wellbeing and fashion
  • Film and multi-media facilities 
  • Teaching/mentoring kitchen
  • Café serving hot meals (costing no more than £1)
  • Multi use games area/kick pitch with floodlights
  • Break out room to include activities such as employability workshops.

The leader of Basildon Council, Gavin Callaghan added: “This Youth Zone will be the best thing to happen to young people in this borough for decades and will change the culture of youth services for good.

“It will also be an integral part of our vision to transform Basildon town centre which is bouncing back with the creation of 5,000 new jobs, a new multi-use arena, outdoor entertainment, more cultural spaces and activity, along with more restaurants, shops and a mix of independent retailers.”

Councillor David Harrison said: “This is an exciting milestone for the project.

"A Youth Zone will have a huge impact on the borough and provide excellent opportunities for our young people that are currently not available.”

A spokesperson for OnSide Youth Zones added: “OnSide Youth Zones offer young people safe and aspirational places to spend their leisure time. We are really excited by the plans we have submitted.”

The council's planning committee will discuss the plans.