New York athletics track opened

Over 100 members of the City of York Athletic Club (CYAC) took to the track last night for their first training session at York’s brand new athletics track.

The track has been developed by a partnership of University of York and City of York Council, who have worked together over the past 12 months. The track has been awarded a Class A certificate for a regional centre by UK Athletics.
Athletics track June 2015

The track, built at the University’s Heslington West campus, cost £2 million and was funded by both the council and university. The facility includes an 8 lane synthetic running track, a grass infield for field disciplines like javelin, hammer, discus and shot put and other synthetic areas for pole vault, highjump, long and triple jump. In autumn 2015 additional work will start on a new sports pavilion and covered seating for 500 spectators. In the meantime a temporary pavilion and stand are in place for the summer season. These first class facilities now provide York’s athletes the best possible opportunities to improve their sporting performances.

The facility is the new home for City of York Athletic Club and is also available for use by regional schools, local groups and athletes of all abilities.

Ayre to reconsider role as athletics coach

Ayre to reconsider role as athletics coach

Cllr Nigel Ayre, Executive Member for Culture, Leisure and Tourism who was at the track for the session said:

“The opening of this brand new track will greatly improve athletics facilities in York. It has been made possible through strong local partnership work between the council, the University of York and City of York Athletic Club. I originally brought forward plans to fund and build a top-class athletics track at the University as the Executive Member in July 2010. I am therefore pleased that this vision has now been realised and athletes of all abilities can start to enjoy the new facilities.”

York Council’s £3.5 million payment to local Universities

The York Council has released details of the payments that it has made to local Universities over the last 4 years.

Click to download full list

Click to download full list

In total, payments of around £3.5 million have been made although the vast majority of this (£3 million) was a grant to York University for the provision of a County Standard swimming pool. The scheme – part of the new “sports village” on Hull Road – was agreed after the Barbican pool closed and was paid for from the proceeds of the sale of the land there.

In total £192,519 has been paid to St Johns University. The largest payments were made to an anti bullying campaign although the University receives significant payments from taxpayers for the “Higher York” organisation.

The University of York fee payments range from £170,000 paid for the York Cares organisation (which managess voluntary projects in the City) to £850 for a speaker at a “women’s development session”.

All Council expenditure is now being closely scrutinised following the decision of the Labour Leadership to remove winter salt bins from key foopath locations in the City.

The bins cost only £50 a time to fill.

NB. At the last Council meeting the Labour Leadership revealed that it will pay £31,000 to York Athletics Club as a sweetener to move out of the Huntington Stadium. It had been intended to provide a replacement athletics facility at the sports village but Labour now propose to fund the refurbishment of the existing University athletics field.

Blow for Sports Village hopes. Community Stadium to be delayed?

The Council has announced that it will no longer be funding an athletics track at the Sports Village on Hull Road.

The facility was to have opened this year.

The proposal to establish a sports village – which also includes swimming pools, 3G football pitches, a fitness suite, a outdoor cycling circuit and spa facilities – was agreed over 3 years ago and most of the facilities are now in use.

Athletics stadium Sept 2013

However, the provision of a new £2 million athletics stadium was to be the final jewel in the crown.

The intention had been to maximise the use of shared facilities such as the refreshment area, physiotherapy, spa and changing rooms.

Now the Council has decided to refurbish the University of York running track on Heslington Lane which is nearly 2 miles away from the Sports Village. The Heslington/Fulford area already suffers from traffic and parking issues

The implications for the running costs of both facilities remain unclear as does the financial commitment of the Council to the whole Community Stadium project.

A spokesperson for the Labour run council has claimed that the new site will be “cheaper”.

However, the athletes are claiming that the Council has agreed to subsidise the York Athletic Club for “5 years”.

Who has agreed such a subsidy, with what restrictions and for how much remains a mystery?

Behind closed doors logo

This major change in policy was taken at another behind closed doors meeting, so taxpayers are being kept in the dark

Moving the athletics track from the Huntington Stadium was an essential precursor to work on the new stadium starting.

It now seems that athletes will leave Huntington in late 2014 prior to occupying the refurbished University track in 2015.

Completion of the Community Stadium has already been put back to 2016 and further delays cannot be ruled out.