A SPECIALLY designed shelter could be created to give youngsters in Haddington “their own space”.

The shelter, which would neighbour Haddington Athletic’s Millfield football ground and the town’s Scout hall, is being worked on by East Lothian Council.

A formal consultation on the potential location is expected to get under way within a matter of weeks.

Haddington and Lammermuir Area Partnership (HALAP) will provide about £5,000 for the shelter, with the town’s schools and community council likely to be approached regarding their thoughts on the shelter and the site.

Stuart Gibb, area partnership manager, told the Courier that it was a scheme which had been looked at for more than a year.

He said: “There were issues with youth disturbances in Haddington over the course of the past year and there was a Problem Solving Partnership (PSP) group set up to address that.

“One of the outputs from that was a suggestion made it might be an idea to see if a youth shelter could be located somewhere in Haddington. That would give the kids somewhere to go, in a space and hang out, rather than being here, there and everywhere. They would have their own space.”

The shelter, which could measure up to eight feet in height, could be in place later this spring and remain in its chosen location, at the junction of Tynebank Road and the road leading to the Scout hall, until the end of the year.

Then a review could be undertaken to determine if it had proven worthwhile or to identify any issues.

As it will only be in place on a temporary basis to begin with, there is no need for planning permission.

Similarly, because it is a temporary structure, if any issues arise it could be removed early.

The potential addition of the shelter was discussed at a recent Haddington and Lammermuir Community and Police Partnership meeting.

Callum Colquhoun, community warden, said a site had been identified and members of the public would be asked for their thoughts through a consultation period.

If it goes ahead, it would follow in the footsteps of a similar youth shelter put in place in Garvald a year ago.

The shelter is in the village’s park and there are plans for it to feature lighting and WiFi.

Penny Short, chairwoman of Garvald and Morham Community Council, told the Courier that shelter had proven a great success.

She said: “We have had a slight delay in getting power to the shelter, which has had a knock-on effect in getting WiFi, but it is getting there.

“The shelter has been great; it has integrated well into the park and we have had nothing but positive comments.”