A NEW education centre catering for up to 40 young people could be built above a shop near a town centre.

Plans have been submitted to Hyndburn Council for the site for the centre in Accrington, which would teach topics such as Islamic and Arabic studies.

The centre would be in the top two floors of the three storey building at 178A Blackburn Road, which has computer and mobile shop PC Cellular on the ground floor.

Concerns have been raised by police over crime in the area and the potential for incidents at an education centre.

However the applicant said he hopes plans will provide children in the area with something to do after school.

Architect Saeed Zofar said: "It would definitely be a boost for the area.

"It is just vacant floors at the moment.

"It'll be a good site to bring the kids in on an evening or on a weekend.

"It will give them something positive to do after school.

"It'll be a boost for employment in the area as well as it will need staff."

He said the centre would look to provide activities in the week from 5pm and on weekends.

The proposal include 40 spaces for young people and 20 would be taught on each floor.

Each floor would have a classroom and a bathroom and there would also be a kitchen on the first floor.

It would serve young pupil from age six to 18 and groups would be separated by age.

Six members of staff would be brought in to help with teaching at the site which has the provisional name of 'Blackburn Road Education Centre'.

The first and second floors of the building were last used as flats but have been vacant 'for more than a year'.

A car park is on Portland Street at the side of the building is available for users.

A report from police said any development should include a HD digital colour CCTV system, a wireless or hardwired alarm system, lighting and secure fire escapes and bins.

Davina Helm, designing out crime officer at Lancashire Police, said: "Over the past 12 months there have been high levels of reported crime at the location.

"Educational establishments can be attractive to criminals and are often targeted for burglary as they generally store large quantities of IT equipment, such as computers, laptops, projectors, cameras and also petty cash."

Cllr Tony Dobson, part of the Accrington town team and Tory party leader, said: "I think there has been a bit of a surge over the past few months in anti-social behaviour and it would be good if we could get young people into something more productive.

"I think we are below the level of educational attainment where we would want to be, so any educational premises opening I would welcome and would be interested to meet the people behind it to find out more."