How should �100,000 be spent in Axminster? You decide!

AXMINSTER residents are being invited to vote on how to spend �100,000 of government money.

AXMINSTER residents are being invited to vote on how to spend �100,000 of government money. The Section 106 funding, from Axminster developments, has been allocated to improve the town's recreation and play areas.

East Devon District Council representatives and members of Axminster Town Council will be manning a consultation stall at the town's market on Thursday, August 20.

The consultation will run from 9am to 1.30pm. People can vote up to six times on 15 different options. All you need is a postcode from within the parish of Axminster.

Funding for Axminster has been welcomed by residents. Most are in favour of a providing more youth facilities, but differ on what they should be.

But many spoke in favour of a youth centre and agreed better facilities could help alleviate anti-social behaviour amongst youngsters.

Ben Herbert, 20, who works at The Swan, believes better youth facilities will help keep youngsters out of trouble.

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He said: "There's no point to the skate park - it's a bit wrecked. A youth centre would be a good idea.

"I think there's a lack of youth facilities in Axminster and youngsters are getting bored because there's nothing to do. It leads them to causing trouble - I've been there and done it."

Claire Nacey, who works in The Axminster Inn, agreed that a youth centre could help alleviate social problems.

She said: "It will give young people something to do. I think a youth centre would definitely be good, so they have somewhere else to go. It would benefit them and the town. The town can be boring for them, I suppose."

Jackie Sabill suggested facilities which would help young people develop life skills.

She said: "You get youngsters hanging out with cans and swearing and spoiling facilities.

A police spokesman believes many residents' complaints arise because of noisy children and called for facilities away from built up areas.

He said: "I think it would be good if children had somewhere to go, well-lit, with seating, and away from residents - that's when we get complaints.

"It's not because the children are causing trouble, but because they are a bit noisy. They should provide a facility where children can congregate without having to be quiet; where they can be noisy and boisterous without upsetting people."

Gary Huntley also called for a youth centre. He said there used to be one in the town in the early '80s, run by the Vicar at the time, Barry Swift.

He said: "It was a really good place. There would be gatherings and even naughty children would get on board! In one incident, when a child was caught stealing, the others decided on the punishment. It helped us develop discipline.

"But it fell apart when the vicar left and ever since then the town has gone down hill."

His daughter, Charlotte, 17, said young people wanted somewhere to 'chill.'

She said: "Somewhere with an internet caf� - teenagers don't think to use the library - where we can meet up with friends and chill out.

"I think an all day drop in centre would be fantastic. Maybe a graffiti wall too, so youths can make it their own, rather than doing it in the town."

"Maybe they could have a place to learn skills, like carpentry, woodwork or maintenance. It would help develop skills, get them jobs, and help prevent social problems."

Terry Barker of Shoemate, in Silver Street, said: "There used to be in Axminster, many moons ago, a caf� for youngsters. I think a caf� would be a good idea - it gives them somewhere to go.

"But I don't think money should be wasted on play areas that attract bad behaviour."

Terry Potter, who works at the Tourist Information Centre, is pleased that funding has been allocated to the town.

She said: "You do get a lot of people come into the town and use the children's park. Anything else that brings tourism in has got to be good.

"There's already a swimming pool, but maybe other indoor amusements, like in Honiton, would be good. If the weather isn't good, it would still keep people in the town and spending money. And, in this country, you can't guarantee the weather."

TIC manager Sarah Crook added: "I'm thrilled there's some money available to update any facility in Axminster.