A BRIGHT new youth centre has opened in the middle of Worcester's Waste Land, giving a taste of things to come when the whole area is redeveloped, writes reporter Ann Kent back in January 1972.

The building, which is all concrete blocks and open plan, has sprung up almost unnoticed in St Martin's Gate, surrounded by the rubble and undergrowth of the city's most derelict area.

Its architect Richard Huke, of the City Architects' Department, planned it to tune in with the health centre next door which he also designed.

The stark modernity of the £41,000 building seemed to appeal to most of the youngsters who visited it on the opening night although some of them found its spaciousness hard to adjust to at first.

One young member Richard McBride, of Ombersley Road, was particularly impressed with the planning.

He said: "The design is very good. I don't think they could have done better."

Mr Huke had the problem of vandalism in mind when he drew up the plans for the new centre which, with the addition of equipment and land purchase, has cost £67,500.

He said: "We considered the question of vandalism more than any other factor in the design.

"Plain plaster walls would have been asking to be scribbled on so we used blocks of concrete masonry.

"For the same reason we used facing brickwork at the Warndon youth centre which I am glad to say has been almost untouched by vandals."

The centre houses the former St Paul's youth club, which has now combined with the city and used to meet at Stanley Road School, and the city club, which was at the old YWCA in Sansome Street.

There is no change at the top, however, as Harold Dickinson, leader of the combined club, used to lead both.

The building was scheduled for construction in May 1971 but, owing to construction difficulties, was not finished until November.

The city youth club's old Sansome Street site was scheduled for demolition to make way for the City Walls road scheme so the completion of the new centre was a matter of some urgency.

Phase two of the centre - the provision of an outdoor recreation area for tennis, netball, etc - will begin in the next financial year at an estimated cost of £6,000.

Changing rooms with showers and outside toilets have been provided to accompany these outside activities.

On the ground floor there is a skittle alley, an amenity not previously available to the youngsters, dart boards, a ladies' powder room, inside toilets and a large table tennis room which will double as a dance hall.

Upstairs there is a committee room, coffee bar, a large open area for billiards and a big general purpose room which will be used for showing films and possibly badminton.