Good news that the York Council, York City FC and the Knights Rugby Club seemed to have reached a more robust agreement for playing matches at Bootham Crescent.
The next fixture in the “super 8’s” contest has been confirmed for Sunday afternoon (2:00pm) at the ground.
However, speculation is increasing over the fate of the Community Stadium project itself.
A revised planning application for the stadium was granted in March 2015. The proposal could have been “called in” by the Secretary of State or made subject to a Judicial Review.
Neither happened, so it was a surprise when changes to the layout of the stadium were placed before the Planning Committee on 8th June 2016. Important backers had withdrawn from the project and the Council was struggling to pre-let some of the commercial floor-space.
The changes were controversial involving as they did an enlarged multiplex cinema.
A further 10-week period, during which a Judicial Review of the scheme can be requested, ends in a few days’ time.
No statement has been issued by the Council, but in June Reel cinemas – who feared that the new multiplex would damage their business – had threatened legal action.
Any Judicial Review could add 6 months to the delivery timetable for the stadium project. This would effectively put back a completion date to mid-2019. Whether the sports clubs can survive until that time may be a matter of speculation.
We have recorded on many occasions, since funding for a new stadium was found in 2010, that the Council should have got on with the project then rather than progressively to try to add, high risk, commercial – and social – elements.
This has produced a complex scheme which it is easy for opponents to delay.