TEENAGE hang-out areas could be established across east Cleveland to provide youngsters with a safe place to meet friends.

It is hoped the move to create 25 hang-outs will answer criticisms from residents who have complained about anti-social behaviour by gangs.

Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council has agreed to set up a committee to work on the plan as part of a £1.5m scheme to improve facilities for young people and children. Other plans include revamping 25 play areas and creating ten new traditional play areas.

Supervision would be provided to stop the hang-outs being used for drug-taking and underage drinking.

The council will begin a consultation programme with youth and community groups across the borough. It is hoped young people will become involved in the process.

There are 63 playgrounds in east Cleveland. However, a recent survey by the council showed that 35 of those needed substantial investment.