Friday, August 5, 1966

THE basement of Radcliffe Market Hall could once again become a meeting place for the town's teenagers.

Formerly a billiard hall and known throughout the town as the 'Grott', the area could now be turned into a youth club by Radcliffe Council.

Three generations of the town's youth spent many leisure hours at the hall, which was closed down more than 12 years ago after magistrates had banned under-17s from the premises.

Attendances dropped by over 75 per cent and the owners closed the billiards hall after an unsuccessful appeal to the magistrates to reconsider the decision.

Now the council is pressing for the adaptation of the 'Grott' into a youth club and are set to discuss the proposals in a special meeting.

Alderman Jack Lomax said: "It is these youngsters we want to cater for. They have got to 'let off steam' occasionally and the market is the ideal place. They could make a noise if they want to and bring their own records along. Refreshments would be available."

He added that he hoped there would be some provision for more organised activity, but expressed the view that there should be a minimum of supervision, with the youngsters encouraged to take a major part in the running of the club.

The premises have been inspected by the Fire Brigade and would need various modifications to comply with fire regulations.

One difficulty would be the provision of downstairs toilets because the basement is below the level of the foul sewer.

Before a decision is reached, the council will have to weigh up the potential demand - after several previous attempts to establish a lively centre for the town's young people have been met with limited success.

Only last week, the owners of the Bar Non coffee bar, at the Bridge Methodist Church, had to appeal for more support, just five months after it opened.

A youth club set up at the Bridge Methodist School after the Second World War had to close in 1954, after its membership dwindled from 400 teenagers to just 60.

Another factor to be considered is the £15,000 youth club to be erected on the Bolton Road Estate by Lancashire County Council.