The York Planning Committee has today approved the latest plans to build a Community Stadium at Huntington.
The decision comes 5 years after an agreement was reached on how a new stadium could be funded.
The decision was expected following a recommendation for Council officials that the plans should be approved. Outline planning permission had been granted in 2012 and the full Council had, last October, accepted a new financial package which included the provision of more retail floor-space.
The new plans did, however, lead to the closure of Waterworld with the future of the Yearsley pool also placed in jeopardy.
There were surprisingly few objections from other retailers to the new plans while concerns about traffic and parking arrangements were also muted.
The plans will now be put to the Secretary of State. He could decide to “call in” the plans. With the present Parliament due to be dissolved on Monday prior to the General Election, it is likely to be June before any decision on the referral is made.
History may record that the most difficult times for the project have yet to come.
A deal with rugby is essential if the stadium asset is to be fully exploited (and business plan income achieved). There were also some awkward conditions imposed in the original planning application which have yet to be satisfied.
A solution to the Yearsley pool issue will be one of the first issues on the new Councils agenda when it too meets for the first time in June.
Then there is the ambitious 12 month building timetable. As we have said before, we doubt if a stadium could be completed for the start of the 2016 football season; but we hope we are proved to be wrong.
The less complicated project plan – agreed 5 years ago – would have been implemented by now.
We would have a stadium with both football and rugby being played there.
It remains to be seen whether the delays have been worthwhile.
Boost for Knights
In a survey undertaken by Liberal Democrats on thee west of the City residents were asked whether they agreed with following statement
” The Council should ensure that the Knights rugby team are able play matches at the new community stadium”
- 70% agreed
- 10% disagreed
- 20% were undecided.