THE Northern Ireland Housing Executive has turned down a proposal by the newly formed Somerset Residents Group to use a vacant commercial property for a new youth club.
The group had written to the Executive’s Gerry McCloskey in Coleraine earlier this month asking if it could let the former Spar shop unit at Hazelbank Road.
A letter, written by the Group’s vice-secretary, Sophie Norton, said the introduction of a youth club “would be an amazing benefit to the Somerset area.”
The letter added: “At present there is nothing in the Someset area for kids, which is resulting in groups and gangs of children gathering in different areas, such as the footbridge at the Waterside area and usually being involved in anti-social behaviour.
“Our group’s main focus is to clean up our community in all ways.
“So far we have achieved a litter pick up in the areas of Winston Way, Somerset Drive, Laurel Avenue and Castle Place.
“We have also been involved in child protection training and our most recent event, we hosted a kids disco in West Bann Community Centre.”
Confirming it had received the request for help, a Housing Executive,spokesperson said: “The property concerned has just recently been vacated and in accordance with our policy we are in the process of advertising for a new commercial tenant. In these circumstances we cannot consider offering the property to the Resident’s Group for their use.
“ The Resident’s Group will be advised of the current position.