An application to change the use of Boston’s Haven Gallery so it can be used for education and employment training for 16-19 year olds has been passed.
Councillors described the plans, made by national charity Nacro, as a ‘good use’ for the building and praised the ‘educational’ aspects.
Nacro Service manager for Boston, Wisbech and Spalding Gareth Jones said the charity was currently based in High Street and that the new premises would allow them to expand their services.
He said: “I know quite a few of the issues we have around the town among young people and getting them into work.”
He said he had been ‘fighting’ for the past few years to get a new building and had seen the Haven in January last year.
“We knew it had been empty for sometime and knew it would be the perfect building for us to use.”
He said initial ideas included putting partitions up in the building and splitting it into classroom areas. He also suggested putting frosted windows up partway with the charity’s name on.
He added he also hoped the plans would enable them to provide adult classes.
Speaking at this afternoon’s (Tuesday’s) planning meeting, Coun Derek Richmond said: “This building’s been empty for some time now unfortunately, I do believe, as the gentleman described, this will be a good use of the building.”
However, he added he wouldn’t want to see posters lining the windows.
Coun Alan Lee also added his support and said: “I think this is a good use for the building. It’s going to be brought back into use and it’s a good use - education is something everybody needs.”
Nacro hopes to run a variety of services and courses from the Haven including vocational courses in retail and social care ,work placements, English ,Maths and IT and employability skills and jobs clubs.
In their report council planning officers recommended that councillors grant the application.
The report said: “The proposed development will return this vacant building back to effective use which will generate additional pedestrian footfall within this part of the town centre, helping to sustain the local economy and to enhance the character of this part of the conservation area.”