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Dartmouth Youth Club Closure

As a result of Devon County Council’s decision to close the Ivy lane (Decks) Youth Club in August with the redundancy of its youth workers, this was discussed at last week’s Town Council and local groups have been meeting to find a way forward. County Cllr Jonathan Hawkins says he did not support the County Council measure and is to lead a deputation to County Hall. But whilst the County Council says it will
cooperate with local measures to keep a youth club running it is under serious government financial pressure and is unlikelyto reverse its budget decision

Decks Youth Club was opened by the Town Council in the 1960s and transferred under the 1972 Local Government Act to South Hams Council. It was then transferred to Devon County Council in 1988 with a covenant between SHDC and the DTC youth centre trustees to prevent any future use of the property that does not fall within the D1 Use Class, which encompasses only non-residential institutional uses. These include medical, nursery and day centres, museums, art galleries, libraries, church halls, law courts, training centres and youth centres. Devon County Council cannot therefore change the property to residential use and nor can any other prospective owner they sell or lease it to.

The Town Council has now confirmed with the Land Registry that the building, is owned by Devon County Council, and the Town Clerk is attempting to register the building as a community asset and South Hams Council are said to agree to this. But Devon County Council are the owners who must also agree to this, and then the Town Council must purchase or lease the building for a market price and find the money to do this within six months. If not, other possible venues for the club include Dartmouth Academy, the Leisure
Centre, Townstal Community Hall (where there is already a club for 7-12 year olds) the market square Community Corner and the Guildhall. And as regards the £18,000- £25,000 needed for the annual salary of a qualified, CRB checked youth worker, various sources are being approached, including by all account the church and the police and other youth groups such as the Scouts and Guides and Sea Scouts.
It is not long until the club closes in August and those involved in saving it must act quickly.

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