Plans to renovate a children’s centre and make it into a new youth and employment hub within Blackburn have been passed.

The Audley and Queens Park Children’s Centre is set to be transformed as part of a £1 million scheme to create a new youth centre.

The plans were approved at a meeting of Blackburn with Darwen Council's Planning and Highways Committee on Thursday evening, after the application had been recommended for approval by planning officers.

Blackburn with Darwen Council secured the funding needed for the scheme through the Government’s Youth Investment Fund (YIF).

It is one of four major projects announced for the area with £8m to be invested in facilities for children and young people right across the borough.

A planning application for the site on Pringle Street said: “The proposed development involves the erection of three single-storey extensions and a new entrance canopy in conjunction with a number of internal reconfigurations.

"This application specifically relates to the children’s centre, which is located within the eastern portion of the building.

“The larger of the extensions would infill an area off the south and west elevations. It would have a footprint of circa 85 square metres and a flat roof 3.2m in height. 

“A roof lantern would be installed centrally and its elevations would be externally finished with dark grey and red bricks. A flexible youth space would be provided within.”

Lancashire Telegraph:

The two extensions are set to provide a new entrance, meeting room and extended receptions areas with an extra 100sqm of new floorspace.

The centre currently employs 16 members of childcare staff. However, as Inspire Motivate Overcome (IMO) charity take over the site it is expected to increase the number of employees and children attending site.

The application adds: “The proposed extensions would appear relatively small-scale when related to the massing of the existing building.

"Flat roofs would be used, which would appear at odds with the main pitched roof. 

“However, the form of the extensions would not appear unacceptably out of place given the utilitarian style of the existing building.

"The proposed canopy would also appear as a proportionate and unimposing structure once built.

“Grey bricks are proposed for the majority of the elevations with feature bands of red bricks also proposed.

"The use of such materials would differentiate the age of the extensions from that of the main building alongside providing a certain level of visual interest."

Lancashire Telegraph:

The site has two relatively large car parks, which provide in excess of 40 spaces. 

The plans added: “Adequate parking provision and servicing arrangements should also be provisioned in support of new development.

“The proposed extensions would not result in the loss of any existing off-street vehicle parking facilities. 

“The proposals would have the potential to increase the capacity of the site, and therefore parking requirements.

"That said, the existing carparks are adequately sized to accommodate any additional parking requirements associated with the development.”

The youth centre will be open seven days a week with the extension plans boasting a new youth suite, a flexible youth space, upgrades to the kitchen, a teaching kitchen, quiet area, workshop, new office space and a one-to-one room.