As we predicted several months ago, the new Community Stadium will not open until 2017 at the earliest.
An update report (click) has been published by the Council. It will be considered next Thursday.
The Council has confirmed that there have been no changes to the specification, costings and funding sources agreed by the, then Labour dominated, Council in September 2014 (see above).
The demolition of the existing stadium and Waterworld building is to be fast tracked – as is an extension to the Park and Ride site – at a cost of £2 million. The Council intends to undertake some advanced design work on steel work and piling.
The Council have announced – for the fifth time – that the Yearsley pool has been “saved” although they remain coy about the source of any ongoing subsidy that will be required.
Perhaps surprisingly they continue to claim that the £12 million replacement for Waterworld will go ahead despite growing evidence that demand for public swimming provision is the City has now been fully satisfied.
A contract for the stadium scheme is now expected to be awarded in January 2016. In the meantime the Council will attempt to negotiate away covenants on the use of the land – thought to have been inserted by a previous owner (work which should have been done three years ago)
Worryingly it appears that some of the proposed tenants for premises in the stadium complex have not yet signed up.
The Council are still forecasting a 12 to 14 month construction time table for the Stadium (Feb 2016 – April 2017). We doubt very much that a stadium of this size and complexity can be built, fitted out and – critically – get an appropriate safety certificate in that timescale.
It would be a major achievement to have it ready for the beginning of the 2017/18 football season (August 2017).
So a scheme that was in 2010 to be fully funded from S106 contributions from the adjacent Vanguard development, now looks set to cost taxpayers £8 million.
The hard work in finding funding for the stadium had been done by the time that Labour took control of the Council in May 2011. They dithered over the specification for the stadium for over a year before finally securing outline planning permission for the retail enabler.
A bizarre design/build/operate contract was then drawn up which fell foul of European procurement rules, adding two years to the process
Planning permission for the new stadium and commercial complex was finally granted only in April this year and it was June before the Secretary of State indicated that he would not ”call in” the scheme.
There is a lot of evidence that some Labour Councillors simply didn’t understand the risks that were being taken. Indeed yesterday one of their politicians took to the media to announce – completely erroneously – that the scheme would now cost £41 million (not £37m).
Unfortunately – for taxpayers – there is no way back to the 2010 scheme which would have seen a stadium, athletics facility and some community space built within a £15 million cost envelope. It would have been completed in 2014 at the latest.
Now we will have to wait another 5 months before the final costs are known and confirmation provided that all the proposed tenants have all signed on the dotted line