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Planning approval recommended for new community hub

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A brand new community centre for east Middlesbrough could soon become a reality if planning approval is given.

Councillors will meet next week to consider the proposals for the new facility which would replace the former Southlands Centre which was demolished to make way for new development.

Local residents have campaigned for a replacement on the same site to give the local community access to much-needed leisure and other activities.

Working closely with residents, Middlesbrough Council has drawn up plans for the ‘new Southlands', with £1.2m allocated to the project from the Council's Capital Programme, and a £500,000 bid to the Towns Fund set to complete the funding package.

The application will come before Middlesbrough Council's Planning and Development Committee on Friday, April 9 and has been recommended for approval with conditions.

The report states: "It is concluded that the proposed development would constitute a high quality, sustainable development, which will go towards enhancing the site of the former Southlands Centre, and provides community facilities and resources to meet anticipated demand.

"Moreover, the design and layout of the scheme are acceptable and generally in accordance with the relevant local and national policies given there will be only limited adverse impacts on the surrounding residential area."

Previously the scheme has had the vocal backing of Middlesbrough Mayor Andy Preston, Cllr Mieka Smiles, Executive Member for Communities and Education, Park End and Beckfield ward councillors Brian Hubbard, Mick Saunders and Stephen Hill and Chair of the Park End & Beckfield Community Forum Sharon Lawrence.