Waltham Forest Echo

Waltham Forest Echo

'No-brainer' plan for new young offenders' centre approved

Councillors were fully on board with plans for the service's new home

Hero for 'No-brainer' plan for new young offenders' centre approved
A 3D image of the planned new centre (WF Council)

Plans for a new centre to support young offenders and excluded school students in Leytonstone have been approved as a "no brainer" by councillors.

A disused adult education college on North Birkbeck Road will be replaced by a similar two-storey building containing a High Needs and Family Resilience Centre.

Waltham Forest’s head of schools delivery Rob Miller said the centre is “necessary” to improve the life chances of “some of the most vulnerable children in the borough”.

The centre will serve as many as 20 students, with up to 50 staff, and will be open from 7am to 10pm Monday to Friday and 10am to 4pm on Saturdays.

During an online consultation on the proposal in October, concerns were raised that the area would become a “super-hub” for crime as the road already has two homes for young homeless people.

However Rob reassured the planning committee on 9th December that residents who have issues with anti-social behaviour “will be able to contact senior staff” at the centre.

Councillors approved the application unanimously and without debate, after councillor Masood Ahmad called the plans a “no brainer”.

Young offenders at the centre will be offered counselling and therapy, as part of the council’s commitment to treat each young offender as a “child first [and an] offender second”.

Excluded students will also be offered specialist teaching in Maths, English, construction skills, catering, music production and computer technology.

It will also include a “small-scale" sports hall with space for indoor games, as well as drama and music performances.

Outside there will be a covered workshop area, an allotment, seating, outdoor gym equipment and a climbing area.

Following a petition from 17 nearby addresses the council has also agreed to make the centre car-free, so future occupiers will not be eligible for on-street parking permits.

Sixteen parking spaces on the old training centre will only be replaced by two disabled parking spaces and one minivan space.