Haymarket Theatre £6.5m youth centre project axed

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Plans to convert Leicester's disused Haymarket Theatre into a £6.5m youth centre have been abandoned.

The theatre, which closed in 2006, was expected to house a BMX track, skateboard run and climbing wall.

Despite a £5m grant, the city council has now said it cannot afford its share of the building or running costs.

The Labour-run authority said it was committed to delivering youth services but had been forced into the move by government funding cuts.

The council estimated the annual running costs would be about £1m.

Councillor Vi Dempster, cabinet lead for children and schools, said: "This initiative relied on a partnership approach, and clearly, the devastating cuts across the whole of the public sector have forced us to withdraw from this particular project.

"We remain committed to providing high quality youth support services to children and young people across the city and we will be working together with young people to ensure that we continue to offer places to go and things to do that build on our existing range of play, youth support and holiday activities."

A spokesman added the council currently had no alternative plans for the venue.

The Haymarket closed after ongoing funding problems and was replaced by the £61m Curve arts centre, which opened in November 2008.

The £5m funding was to come from the myplace scheme, a Department for Education funded programme to build youth centres, which is administered by the Big Lottery Fund.

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