PLANS to create a youth centre at the heart of a Tyne Valley town have been given the green light by councillors despite opposition from local traders.

At Tuesday's meeting of Tynedale Local Area Council - the first time the committee has met since March due to the coronavirus pandemic - councillors approved Prudhoe Community Partnership's planning application for a change of use of Number 10 Front Street.

The approval paves the way for the retail unit to be replaced by a community centre and private cafe, used by the Prudhoe Youth Project and other community groups.

The application came before the committee after a number of objections were lodged, with traders fearing the impact of a youth centre on Front Street, close to a pub and snooker hall.

An objection from Paul Murray, chair of the Prudhoe Traders Committee, was read out by council officers as part of the new COVID-safe protocol for planning meetings.

It read: "The Prudhoe Traders Committee doesn't object to having a youth centre, but does object to one in this specific location.

"There is an exisiting youth centre known as the East Centre, in an appropriate location. It's acknowledged that it requires an investment, but it is nevertheless the current youth centre.

"Having two locations will only create a divide between the youth population in Prudhoe, which will become problematic in the future."

But Prudhoe Community Partnership's chairman, George Hepburn, provided a statement defending the plans.

It read: "A number of the objections claim that young people are rowdy, anti social, and should be discouraged from gathering in the town centre. We disagree.

"Young people already gather on Front Street, and we will be offering constructive activities and support. We believe young people should be embraced and honoured.

"The county council has recentled supported the partnership's plans to demolish and rebuild the East Centre into a young person's hub - which means there will not be a base for young people in the centre of town for the next few years."

Councillors approved the application with no votes against, although Prudhoe representatives Gordon Stewart and Ken Stow abstained.

Coun. Ian Hutchinson, proposing approval, said: "I can't see any reason for refusing it.

"It's going to put something back into use."