Liberal Democrat Councillors launch petition to reduce proposed Community Stadium parking charges

Liberal Democrat Councillors have launched a petition calling on the Council to reverse the proposed increase to parking charges at the York Community Stadium.

The new £10 charge was agreed by Tory Executive member Peter Dew at a meeting which took place 3 weeks ago.

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Under current proposals, fans travelling to park at the Park & Ride facilities to reach the Stadium may be charged £10 to park, increasing from the current £5 price.

This will be in addition to some spaces reserved for the sports clubs, continuing Park & Ride services and free parking at the Vangarde Shopping Centre, which will be limited to two hours on all match days.

If approved, local councillors are concerned that fans travelling to the Community Stadium will seek alternative or cheaper parking in nearby Huntington, increasing local traffic in the community and on-street parking on matchdays.

Local Liberal Democrat Councillors for Huntington and New Earswick have voiced their concerns at the proposals and have now launched a petition calling for a reduction to the proposed fare increase.
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Fans finally wake up to car parking cost plans at new York Community Stadium

We pointed out 2 weeks ago that the proposed £10 parking charge at the new Community Stadium would be amongst the highest in the lower leagues (football and rugby).

Its a real shame that there hasn’t been any consultation with supporter organisations on the issue.

Charges at public car parks near Bootham Crescent are less than half that with many drivers taking the opportunity to park for free on the streets.

The Tory transport supremo seems wedded to the idea.

Lets hope it does’t impact too badly on attendance levels.

York Community Stadium – opening delayed

It will come as no surprise to many that the scheduled opening date for the York Community stadium has been put back.

We warned that the July opening date was highly optimistic.

The Council are staying tight lipped about when they hope that the stadium and associated leisure facilities will eventually open.

The Knights Rugby team are already rescheduling the venues for their fixtures against the Bradford Bulls (20th July) and Featherstone Rovers (18th August).

It seems unlikely that the stadium will be available for the start of the new football season on 3rd/10th August

Given that Spurs are now looking at a full 9 month delay on their new home no doubt the building contractors will be ultra cautious in saying when work will be completed.

At least poor weather can’t be blamed for any delays.

 

Monks Cross parking charge doubled ahead of stadium opening

The Council has announced that the charge for parking at Monks Cross will increase from £5 to £10. The proposal comes shortly before the new Community Stadium and facilities like the IMAX cinema are scheduled to open in the summer.

A parking charge of £10 would be amongst the highest faced by supporters of both football and rugby in the UK. In the lower leagues, charges are usually less than £5. (Higher charges can apply to car parks close to Premier league grounds).

Many local supporters are expected to use the reverse park and ride service to Monks Cross. Fares are £3-20 return to the City centre.

Free parking at the nearby Vanguard (John Lewis, M & S etc)car park is restricted to a maximum of 4 hours. Camera enforcement of the restrictions is in operation. Trip Advisor is rife with complaints about fines of £80 being levied for over stayers.

WiFi for York community stadium…..but at a high cost

Those who attend stadium events on a regular basis will know that getting a reliable phone signal can be difficult. Even 4G is often not always available particularly in steel framed buildings. A free WiFi signal can be a boon for those seeking the half time scores from elsewhere or seeking to email an update home on how well the concert is going.

 Next week the Council is being asked to fund the provision of free WiFi access at the new stadium as well as at Clifford’s Tower and Coppergate.

The cost will be over £308,000, with £250,000 of this down to the Community Stadium network.

WiFi is currently available at local Community Hubs, Children Centres, Explore (Library) Centres and Libraries, Residential Care homes, Mansion House, Park and Ride Terminuses, West offices, Hazel Court, Registry Office and Crematorium.

Some schools also have the service but it is not universal.

There will be some scepticism about the budget priority for this programme. No usage figures for the existing free network are provided in the officer report.

There are other IT related services in the City which are arguably more urgently needed including the extension of the Councils “on line” issue reporting system and the reintroduction of “on line” and “on street” car park space availability information.

The Council even claims that it doesn’t have the technology to do routine things like the provision of a real time list of vacant garages on its web site.

These may all seem rather more urgent than allowing a tourist to browse the web from the top of Clifford’s Tower.

There will also be an ongoing debate about whether the costs of installing this facility should be a charge on users rather than taxpayers more generally?

York Knights Rugby say they will open the new Community Stadium with a fixture on 20th July

The Knights official home opener in the brand new Community Stadium in Huntington is set to take place on 20th July 2019.

They will welcome close rivals Bradford Bulls.

It will be a Saturday evening kick off at 6:00 pm

There is still a lot of work to be done at the stadium and sometimes commissioning takes longer than expected (ask any Spurs fan)

York City will no doubt be hoping to stage a landmark fixture in early July against a “big name” opponent.

National League football fixtures don’t commence until August.

Community Stadium Contracts signed

The York Council has announced today that the design, build, maintain and manage contract for York’s Community Stadium has finally been signed.

The announcement comes after another hitch delayed the contract completion from the promised October deadline.

The news marks a major milestone in the Community Stadium project and means that Greenwich Leisure Ltd will now formally take possession of the Monks Cross site and “diggers will be on site before Christmas”. In preparation for full construction works, site security and compounds will arrive on site within the next few weeks.

Greenwich Leisure Ltd will also take over the operation of Energise Leisure Centre and Yearsley Swimming Pool, as part of the wider new stadium and leisure contract, from 1 December 2017.

This news comes after last month, it was announced that Greenwich Leisure Ltd had appointed Buckingham Group Contracting Ltd as the new building contractor.

Once complete the new Community Stadium Leisure Complex will comprise of an 8,000 all-seat community sports stadium to host professional football and rugby league games. There will also be new leisure facilities incorporating a swimming pool, gym, dance studio, indoor and outdoor climbing facilities and a sports hall with spectator seating.

A commercial development on the stadium site will also feature a cinema complex, including an IMAX screen, five restaurants and up to three retail units. NHS outpatient services will be offered on site from a community hub and there will be a new Explore library and a York Against Cancer retail unit.

The new stadium, leisure facilities and the community hub will all open in 2019 along with the new cinema and commercial units.

The Community Stadium has had a chequed career since the Council, agreed to make land available for the project in 2010. Funding for the stadium was agreed then as part of a section 106 agreement with the developers of the adjacent Vanguard site.

Everything was on schedule for a 2014 opening when planning permission was granted in 2012 but the then Council opted for a much bigger project including the management of other leisure buildings in the city together with a new swimming pool and as substantial amount of commercial space.

That contract was held up by procurement regulations and at one point it seemed that the complex project would collapse.

Cost forecast 2014

The Council has however persisted with the plans but the bill for the scheme is now way above the initial estimates of £14 million (which would have been covered by the section 106 agreement funding)

.The following statement has been issued by the Councils Liberal Democrat Group  (more…)

Another York community stadium “work starting” announcement

Déjà vu seeks stadium naming rights!

Land sale value falling

As we predicted earlier in the year, the new community stadium at Monks Cross will not be ready for occupation by the rugby and football Clubs until the middle of 2019.

As recently as April, the Council was still saying the work would be completed in late 2018.

Now it seems that the Council will – at its own risk- authorise building work to start before the final financial contracts have been signed. A report says that this will put £500,000 potentially at risk.

The report also says that a £2.7 million reduction in build costs will be achieved by a cross subsidy from commercial building works. They report that this means that build costs will be £34 million although any saving will be added to the “contingency” reserve, which is built into the budget.

So probably no saving for taxpayers.

The figures quoted in the report do not mention the millions already spent on administration. Other elements of the project bring the total cost to £42 million.

It fails to highlight the risks being taken on by the Council as the principal leaseholder of the southern commercial block.

The report also says the Council will get a lower price (£10.76m) when it sells land for the southern block and the lease on the east stand restaurants. This is £2.6 million less than forecast in March 2016.

The Council have announced that GLL will continue to run the Yearsley swimming pool at least until 2024. The Yearsley subsidy from taxpayers is  £340,000 pa.

The Monks Cross plans still incorporate an additional new – largely inessential – swimming pool.

The Council says that it will not enter a deal with the existing York Libraries Trust for use of the new on-site library. They rather ominously say this is because the intend to re-tender for a new library service operator in 2018.

The proposed stadium name sponsor has walked away from the deal.

We hope that something finally comes out of the project. The present Council finishes its term of office in May 2019 only weeks before the latest stadium opening date. We hope that they will have something to celebrate.

Salford City stadium almost finished in 18 months

However, they may reflect that, since funding for a stadium was first identified in 2009, ten years will have passed during which delay after delay has occurred.

The deal currently on the table will see the Councils leisure centres like Energise and Yearsley transferred over to the management of GLL, with all that may entail for staff and charges.

It is salutary to note that the Salford football club, who will ply their trade in the 6th tier of English football with York City this season, have managed to plan and build a tidy stadium in only 18 months. It is only slightly smaller than the déjà vu stadium in York but has been developed at only a fraction of the York cost.

Latest and previous timetable

York Council investment programme slips

A Council report shows an out-turn of £35.751m on the Council capital investment budget compared to an approved budget of £52.428, an overall variation of £16.677m.

Community stadium start slips

The biggest slippage (£3.5 million) was on the York Central project although there were also delays in other areas including school maintenance, housing construction, the Glen Lodge extension, waste disposal, IT development and upgrades to buses.

The report shows that expenditure on the Community Stadium has also slipped again with the bulk of the work now expected in 2018/19. In total, the Council will spend £36 million on this project although this figure does not include the substantial sums spent to date or the (privately funded) commercial elements of the project.

The report goes on to say;

Mansion House cost up by £150,000

  • that the Mansion House restoration scheme has an outturn position of £1.031m in 2016/17, requiring re-profiling of £515k of funds from 2017/18 into 2016/17. The work is now expected to be completed in August 2017.  The report goes on to say that “as the works contract has progressed a number of areas of additional work have been identified as necessary to safeguard the future of the Mansion House, these essential restoration works will cost an additional £150”.
  • the Tenants Choice programme saw 120 properties have their kitchens, bathrooms and wiring updated through the year. This is significantly lower than the 220 properties that were planned. This is due to problems with tenants refusing works, delays due to damp problems and delays with kitchen deliveries. The scheme under spent by £416k in 2016/17
  • the proposed developments at Newbury Avenue and Chaloners Road have also been delayed. The development now proposed is for 5-6 bungalows and “will be submitted for planning approval in July”. The development of homes at Chaloners Road was postponed when the developer withdrew from the contract. A revised scheme will be submitted for planning approval in late summer 2017
A summary of the Councils £1/4 billion investment plans can be found below

Community Stadium – Cinema car parking deal

The York Council has agreed that customers of the proposed cinema at the Community Stadium will be able to use the park and ride car park “on an evening, out of hours of normal operation”. In a behind closed doors decision session officials agreed a contract to “enter into such an agreement “if and when the site and cinema are complete and in full operation”

Currently park and ride services operate to Monks Cross until 9:15pm each week day evening. The access gates are locked at 9:45pm to prevent overnight parking.

The expectation had been that bus services would continue until later in the evening when football matches were being held at the new stadium.

No details of the financial arrangements for any contract have been released.

The Community Stadium project – which is running 4 years behind schedule –  will next be discussed by the Council’s Executive on 13th July.