Haringey Council has dropped plans for a £6.5 million youth centre that was designed to offer sport and other activities for children across the borough.

Councillors last night (Tuesday, September 11) voted to scrap plans for the OnSide Youth Zone in Woodside amid concerns young people from many parts of Haringey would not be willing to travel long distances to the site.

Instead, the council wants to work with voluntary sector partners to provide a ‘network’ of community-based youth services.

The youth zone, which was set to be built on land currently leased by Woodside High School on White Hart Lane, would have hosted 20 different activities, including sports, arts, music, employability and mentoring.

It was given the green light by the previous Labour administration headed by Cllr Claire Kober, before local elections in May returned a group of more left-wing candidates to the council.

Cllr Mark Blake, cabinet member for communities, safety and engagement, said: “This is done very much on the basis of our developing approach to youth services in the borough, and particularly with regards to the agenda around vulnerable children, and violent crime and its impact on children.”

He said the council’s approach would involve “a collaboration with the local community”, and that the youth zone could be detrimental to partnerships with the voluntary sector.

Cllr Blake added: “In terms of location, we could have ended up with a very expensive youth centre which was only meeting the needs of a small percentage of the young people in Haringey.”

Cllr Liz Morris, leader of the opposition and Liberal Democrat member for Highgate, asked whether the money from the council’s youth services budget that was due to go to the OnSide centre would be protected.

Cllr Blake said: “That money that was earmarked for OnSide would have come from other budgets across children’s (services).

“We are very clear in terms of our manifesto commitment – we want to preserve the youth service that we have got.

“We are absolutely committed to that and we are committed to finding extra resources.”

Haringey Council cut its youth services budget by 75 per cent in 2011 in response to reductions in central government funding.

The borough is currently facing a knife-crime problem, with more than 80 young people killed or injured by knives in the year to February 2018.

The council is drawing up new strategies for vulnerable children, youth services and violence reduction.

Cllr Blake said he saw the three approaches working in tandem but added that he did not see the Youth Zone playing a role.