Clock ticking on Stadium opening

Members of Parliament have written to the Sports Minister asking when clubs like York City will be able to reopen their grounds.

MPs letter to Sports Minister

The MP’s highlighted the perilous position of many non league clubs finances.

Uncertainty – about when paying customers will be able to attend games – and in what numbers – is putting some clubs under threat of closure.

The MPs pointed to the imminent start of the pre-season “friendly” programme.

Although neither of the local MPs signed the 21st August letter, York Outer MP Julian Sturdy said he supported a more general plea made in a letter sent on 17th August and subsequently backed this up with an Email last Monday. There has been no word from York Central MP Rachel Maskell in whose constituency the present York City/York Knights ground is located.

Currently the expectation is that, when the National Leagues resume in October, around 30% of the seats may be available for supporters.

There is a particular problem for York City FC who will manage the new LNER community stadium at Monks Cross. Before they can take full occupation a “test” event involving 3000 spectators must take place. This would allow a safety certificate for the 8500 seater stadium to be issued.

There has been a suggestion – as a result of the health restrictions on capacity which are likely to apply for a few months at least – that certification for a smaller capacity might be possible.

There has been no word from the stadium owners – the York Council – about how and when this might be achieved.

There are 6 weeks to go until the start of the football season for clubs like York City

Earlier letter re smaller non league clubs

Large parts of Councils West Offices rented to other organisations

A response to a Freedom of information enquiry has revealed scale of sub-letting of Council premises.  

West Offices

At West Offices the following organisations rent space;

  • York and District Citizens Advice Bureau –  26 workstations plus associated meeting rooms
  • NHS Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group – 105 workstations
  • Public Health England – 40 workstations
  • Network Rail – 88 workstations
  • Probation Service – 31 workstations
  • North Yorkshire Police – 12 workstations

It is unclear how the impeding restructuring of Public Health England services will affect current arrangements.

The Council has refused to reveal how much it receives in rent from the tenants.

The intention when moving to West Offices nearly a decade ago was that the Council would release 16 properties that they occupied at that time.

These included De Grey House, Exhibition Square, Mill House, North Street, 10-12 George Hudson Street, York, 20 George Hudson Street, 18 Back Swinegate, 1A & 1B Swinegate East, 1E Swinegate East, 50 York Road, Acomb, St Leonards Place/2 & 4 Museum Street, 11 Little Stonegate, 1 Blake Street, St. Anthony’s House, Clarence Street, Ashbank, 1 Shipton Road, Clifton, York, YO30 5RE. Holly Croft, Wenlock Terrace, Fulford Road,
The Guildhall, St. Helen’s Square, 5-6 King’s Court.

These premises have been vacated although two (Ashbank and the Guildhall) have remained empty incurring continuing costs for taxpayers.

Most staff have not yet returned to work at West Offices following the pandemic.

It remains unclear what proportion of staff will continue to “work from home” in the future. If the number is significant then additional space at West Offices may become available for sub-letting.