Barnet Council has given the go ahead for a £6million state-of-the-art OnSide Youth Zone to be developed on Montrose Playing Fields in Burnt Oak, near to Grahame Park and Colindale.
Members voted in favour of delivering the new youth facility at the preferred location, subject to planning, as part of the redevelopment and regeneration of the playing fields, during the council’s Assets, Regeneration and Growth Committee meeting on Monday 30th November.
The announcement comes after members voted unanimously in support of the exciting plans in September, which will see a purpose-built Youth Zone open seven-days-a-week with more than 20 activities on offer every session for young people aged 8-19, or up to 25 for those with a disability.
The aim of the Youth Zone is to raise the aspirations, enhance prospects and improve health and wellbeing for young people in Barnet, by providing affordable access to a wide range of programmes, services and activities including sports, arts, music, employability and mentoring.
The Youth Zone is being developed in partnership with OnSide, a national charity with a network of six Youth Zones and two more set to be completed in 2016.
Montrose Playing Fields was chosen as the preferred site for the Youth Zone due to its accessibility to Burnt Oak and Colindale, the wards agreed by the committee for the development of the Youth Zone.
An initial consultation with a group of young people from Grahame Park was positive about the choice of location, with most saying they would travel there on foot.
Further consultation with young people is planned in the future to make sure they are involved in the development of the project.
Councillor Daniel Thomas, Deputy Leader of Barnet Council, said: “The choice of Montrose Playing Fields as the site for the new Youth Zone moves this exciting project one step on. I am confident it will offer young people a fantastic opportunity to take part in a range of activities that will complement the services we already provide.”
Keith Black, Chairman of the new OnSide Youth Zone in Barnet, said: “We’re absolutely delighted that the council has given the go ahead for a Youth Zone on Montrose Playing Fields. It’s very accessible for young people by public transport; located between Burnt Oak and Colindale and within walking distance of the Grahame Park estate, making it the perfect location to engage as many young people as possible.
“We have every confidence that this offer for young people will provide a transformational experience, supporting and enhancing the current youth provision in the community.”
Barnet Council is investing up to £4.2million towards the Youth Zone development costs as well as providing the site.
This funding will come from the council’s infrastructure reserves and money received from developers to pay for infrastructure costs in the vicinity of large scale developments.
OnSide has, in turn, committed to securing a further £4.8million, which combined with the council funding will cover both the construction and opening costs of the building, but also ensure the Youth Zone’s running costs are secured for the first three years.
OnSide will raise these funds via its network of private sector supporters and donors within Barnet and charitable trusts and grants.