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Plans for a new £5 million youth centre, to be developed at the heart of the Longbridge regeneration project, have been given the green light by Birmingham City Council’s planning committee.

The ‘Myplace’ centre will be developed by St. Modwen in partnership with Birmingham City Council. Designed by Birmingham-based Associated Architects, the iconic centre will provide a wide range of innovative and much-needed services to 14 -19 year olds in the Longbridge area. The development of the centre has been made possible through a Council-secured grant from the Government’s Myplace programme; a Big Lottery Fund scheme to invest in state-of-the-art facilities for young people across the UK.

Located off Longbridge Lane, the new youth centre will address the lack of dedicated facilities for young people in the area. The location of the site was selected for its proximity to the new £66 million Bournville College campus, Longbridge rail station and new Longbridge town centre site, maximising its accessibility.

Construction work for the three-storey building is scheduled to commence in May 2011, with the duration of the build programme expected to last one year. The building has been designed to meet a BREEAM ‘Very Good’ rating.

Mike Murray, senior development surveyor for St. Modwen, said: “It is tremendous news that planning permission and funding are in place for the new Longbridge youth centre. The facility will play an important part in the long-term social, cultural and economic improvement of the area, as there is currently no statutory youth provision. Providing a safe and welcoming environment, the centre will give young people the opportunity to participate in a range of activities and enterprise programmes, with the space to socialise and enjoy new learning experiences in preparation for their future. In turn it is envisaged that this will have a positive effect on the ongoing growth and future prosperity of Longbridge.”

Councillor Les Lawrence, Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Families for Birmingham City Council, said: “This is a very exciting project and I am delighted that construction work can now commence. The young people who will be using the centre were fully involved in its design and development. This is a fantastic opportunity for those living in the South-west of the city and an important cornerstone of regeneration drives for the Longbridge area. We have had a very successful partnership with St Modwen to deliver a facility that I am sure will set the standard for youth centres.”

The building will feature multi-functional rooms, performing arts space, and a theatre/ sports hall/ conference room. It will also include an ICT suite, media centre, workshop area, outdoor multi-use games area, café and garden. The facilities will support a range of sporting activities, creative and performing arts, active citizenship and volunteering, youth business, social enterprise, guidance counselling (such as health services), education, training and career advice.

The Myplace centre has been planned in conjunction with Birmingham City Council Youth Services and User Community Young People Groups. It will be aligned to Birmingham Youth Service Development Plan, Birmingham Children and Young People’s Plan, Local Area Agreement indicators both for children and young people, and the Northfield Constituency Strategic Partnership.

The plans for the new Centre for Young People were developed following extensive consultation with young people. A Youth Forum was created to progress the design plans and engender a sense of ownership from the outset. The Youth Forum bought together representatives from local schools, youth providers and Involve – the Constituency Youth Forum.

The regeneration of Longbridge is a £1 billion project covering 468 acres and aspires to a total jobs target of 10,000 for the whole development through a diverse range of industries, together with a 2,000 new homes, a new town centre for Longbridge with a range of retail, leisure and public facilities and new parks and public open spaces.