THE youth centre in the basement of Barnoldswick Civic Hall is due to re-open in the autumn, it has been confirmed by Lancashire County Council.

The council, which has been sending its mobile 'youth bus' to the town on Friday evenings, says the centre, which has been closed since 2019, will need some repair work before it can be reopened.

Provision for youths in the town has been regularly discussed by councillors and police at the monthly meetings of the West Craven Area Committee of Pendle Council and also by Barnoldswick Town Council.

Councillors have blamed a lack of facilities in the town for incidents of anti- social behaviour by some groups of young people, including setting fire to wheelie-bins and entering and refusing to leave the civic centre, the Rainhall Centre and the library.

At the August meeting of the West Craven Committee, councillors also heard of displaced anti-social behaviour, with groups of youths coming to the town from other areas, such as in Colne, where police had targeted as problem areas.

Police community support officer for the area, Neil Wallin, told the meeting that it was a question of resources and that there was just the one anti-social behaviour team, which is based in Nelson and covering a wide area.

Cllr David Whipp, committee chair, said he appreciated that places in Colne had its issues with anti-social behaviour, but believed problems in West Craven were as bad, if not worse.

There were 'significant numbers' of young people coming to West Craven and catching buses back to Colne.

In addition to calls to re-open the basement youth centre and youth provision at the New Road Community Centre in Earby, the committee is calling for more police presence in the town, with Cllr Whipp planning to bring it up at a forthcoming meeting with the area's police and crime commissioner.

Lancashire County Councillor Cosima Towneley, cabinet member for children and families said: "We are planning to reopen our youth centre in the basement of the Civic Hall in Barnoldswick in the autumn, once some repair work has been undertaken.

"It has been a long-held ambition of Lancashire County Council to have permanent space in the town and we're really looking forward to being back in the building. We understand that the local community share this view and are also very keen for us to have a permanent base.

"In the meantime our amazing youth bus visits every Friday evening, offering sessions for local young people."

The basement youth centre opened in the late 1980s/early 1990s after a long campaign to have a quality space for teenagers.

Cllr Whipp said: "The county council mothballed the facility in 2019, but has paid scores of thousands in rent while it's been closed - not to mention the cost of a generation growing up without positive activities for them to take part in."