Planning application submitted for £6m Dagenham Youth Zone

An artist's impression of how the OnSide Youth Zone will look (Pic: Charlie Coleman)

An artist's impression of how the OnSide Youth Zone will look (Pic: Charlie Coleman) - Credit: Archant

A planning application for the borough’s Youth Zone has been submitted to the council.

The £6m 1,700sq m hub is designed to cater to eight to 19 year olds, offering 20 activities a night for a mere 50p.

Developed by charity OnSide, which has eight similar projects in the North West and the Midlands, the facility is set to open in Dagenham’s Parsloes Park next year, subject to planning permission.

Youngsters from the borough have been heavily involved in the planning process, naming the building Future following a consultation and recently travelling to Rugby to work with the architects.

The teens gave feedback on how they wanted the exterior of the building to look and how some of the rooms should be arranged.

Barking and Dagenham Council has pledged £3m towards the construction of the building with a further £3m coming from external contributors.

Future Youth Zone chair and OnSide’s London champion Charles Mindenhall said: “The submission of this planning application is not only a huge step forward for Barking and Dagenham but for London as a whole.

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“A tremendous amount of hard work has gone into consulting young people about what they want to see in their Youth Zone. OnSide’s motto of ‘somewhere to go, something to do and someone to talk to’ is exactly what Future will give to the young people of Barking and Dagenham.”

Best-selling author Paula Hawkins, who wrote The Girl on the Train, has made a substantial donation to Future after being impressed during a visit to a similar OnSide facility in Wigan.

Activities offered will include football, boxing, fencing, climbing, creative arts, music, drama and employability training. Youngsters will pay a £5 annual fee and then just 50p a visit.