A YOUTH shelter could be axed in six months’ time.

Council chiefs at Ribble Valley Council met to discuss the future of the highly controversial shelter on Henthorn Road, Clitheroe, at the council’s community services meeting on Tuesday.

The shelter, which was installed some years ago as part of Lancashire County Council’s youth work programme, was recommended for closure by council officers after concerns were raised by residents about the anti-social behaviour of shelter users, both during the day and in the evenings.

In a report to the committee, Mark Beveridge, head of the council’s cultural and leisure services, described the shelter as a ‘mess’ and an eyesore for residents.

Mr Beveridge said the council visited the shelter area three times a week to remove litter, bottles, cans and drug-related paraphernalia as they try to keep the Henthorn Road area as clean and tidy as possible for locals.

Councillors discussed what should happen to the ‘troublesome’ shelter in a heated debate in the council chamber, on Church Walk, Clitheroe.

Some councillors said the shelter should be removed because residents were becoming ‘frightened’ to walk there.

Cllr Jan Alcock said: “If people are doing drugs then it’s a criminal offence.

“The police should take a zero tolerance approach to anyone caught doing drugs.”

Cllr Richard Newmark said: “It’s not used as much because the older residents will not walk their dogs there.

“They are too frightened of coming through that area.”

Other councillors said removing the shelter wouldn’t provide a long-term solution to the problem.

Cllr Terry Hill said: “Moving the shelter won’t solve the problem.

“Young people have to have somewhere to go and congregate.

“They will find somewhere else and will always be a nuisance.”

Cllr Mary Robinson, who represents the area, said: “The problem is the lack of social care for young people now.

“We used to have youth workers there to engage with young people but because of County Hall budget cuts they aren’t there anymore.

“We need to engage with them.”

Cllr Sue Knox, who lives in Clitheroe, said: “It’s not ideal but I would not support it being moved or dismantled.”

“If the more disaffected young people are using it to remove them something they use will make them more disaffected and would displace them to other areas.”

Councillors agreed to a motion put forward by councillors Gary Scott and Terry Hill and decided to put the future of the shelter on a six-month ‘probation’ period.

The shelter will close in six months’ time unless ‘things change’ as councillors agreed they would work with community groups, including Ribble Valley Safety Partnership, to help improve behaviour.