The future of Oswestry’s flagship youth hub remains in the balance, with Oswestry Town Council still weighing up whether to take ownership of the troubled building.

The Centre, on Oak Street, was intended to be a state-of-the-art home for the town’s youth provision when it was opened in 2012, but is now estimated to need around £250,000 of repairs to make it viable.

Shropshire Council agreed to transfer the freehold of the building and two other parcels of land to the town council in June this year, but town councillors in Oswestry want to get to the bottom of the issues with the ten-year-old structure before making a final decision.

A report delivered to a meeting of the town council last night (December 13) laid bare a range of problems with the building, which was originally hailed for its eco credentials including biomass heating, rain water harvesting, solar heating and heat exchangers when it was opened.

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“It is evident that a number of issues have been ongoing since the building was first built with the condition of the roof particularly poor,” said Town Clerk Arren Roberts.

“The failure of the roof coverings has resulted in water damage to ceilings, plaster and other finishes. ”

The building is described in the report as “high maintenance”, and costs around £25,000 a year to run.

“The potential amount of investment required is significant. We’ve negotiated as best as we can to date but my recommendation is that we pause to see if any other partners and certainly Shropshire Council are willing to accept a share in the risk because as it stands it all falls on Oswestry Town Council,” he added.

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Councillor Jay Moore told the council he believed it was important that the town had a base from which to support its young people, and said police were now dealing with issues arising from the town’s underfunded youth provision.

“It’s a scary risk and I totally understand why when you look solely the numbers we might consider running the other way, but looking at these young residents these are young people who need structure and who need our help,” he said.

“If we don’t have a facility we don’t have a youth provision and we just continue the cycle we’ve been in now for how many years? It’s a lot of generations of young people who’ve been lost.”

Councillor Duncan Kerr told the meeting that the town council need to do all it could to ensure Shropshire Council made the building fit for purpose before handing it over.

“Youth services are not cheap but they are desperately needed,” he said.

“We’re between a rock and a hard place, I do believe that on moral grounds if nothing else Shropshire Council should put that building back.

"There’s no argument about the faults which have been there since it was built, so if they care about the youth of Oswestry and they care about the other organisations going into there the least Shropshire Council can do is make that building fit for purpose.”

The town council resolved to continue discussions with Shropshire Council, and prepare an options report with detailed costings for any repairs and ongoing costs, with a decision expected in the new year.