The acting head of the York Councils Environmental Services Department has tonight issued a statement containing an astonishing attack on the owner of the York Knights RLFC
In a media release from Sarah Tanburn – who was appointed by the now defunct Alexander regime to supervise the adoption of their “Big City” Local Plan and drive through major projects – says that the Council “no longer has the necessary confidence in the working relationship with Mr Guildford or trust in his good faith to enable negotiations with him on the Community Stadium development“.
She effectively says that the Club must now make their own arrangements with third part facility owners.
The change in pollcy is entirely contrary to the ethos of the community stadium project which, since agreement was reached in 2010, was always intended to provide a home for both football and rugby clubs.
While accepting that legal issues between the Club and the Council were resolved in December, the Council now seems to have rejected an opportunity to get round a table and thrash out a deal.
it is unclear what involvement key Labour politicians (Cllrs Williams and Crisp) had in authorising the public attack, but it is likely to inflame the already shaky view that rugby fans have of the Council leadership.
John Guildford has made clear publicly that his main concern, about the deal offered by the Council, was that – contrary to the agreed planning permission – it did not guarantee that the Club could play games at Bootham Crescent until the new stadium opened.
It looks like any opportunity for the Knights to play at the Community Stadium will now rest on the results of the Council elections in May. The Liberal Democrats – who devised the stadium plan 5 years ago – remain committed to involving both sporting codes at the stadium.
There is now a major question mark about Labours attitude.