A senior politician has said it is right to “invest” in education by spending almost £19million on an industrial site in Tottenham.

Councillor Joe Goldberg, Haringey Borough Council’s cabinet member for finance, defended plans to buy the Lee Valley Technopark, in Tottenham, for £18.8million.

The authority wants to sell the site in Ashley Road to the Harris Foundation who will then build a free school there.

Cllr Goldberg said: “Buying out Technopark’s lease and using the site for new school places will both save the council money in the long-term and immediately free up funds that can be reinvested into vital services in the face of further government cuts to our budget.

“Investing now to make underused land available for education in the future is the right approach for parents and families in Tottenham.”

The council came under fire after it was revealed that it has held the lease on the technopark since 1992 and estimates show the site costs taxpayers £406,231 in lost revenue each year.

Because of this, a report to council’s cabinet said: “The Technopark is therefore considered an onerous asset and financial liability with a significant annual net cost to the council”

Councillor Katherine Reece said the council’s plan to buy the Technopark is “absolutely disgraceful”.