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.


Community Stadium – where next?

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.

Our comment in March

Our comment in March (click)

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  Important backers had withdrawn from the project and the Council was struggling to pre-let some of the commercial floor-space.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.

Meanwhile the administrative costs of the project are eating away at the funds available for the development itself – producing a potential crisis for taxpayers in the City, not to say a further period of uncertainty for sports fans.

Community Stadium “set up” costs hit £3.9 million

Over £963,000 spent to date on new athletics facilities at the University

The City of York Council has spent £3.875 million since 2008 trying to get the new Community Stadium off the ground.

Of this, £2.1 million has already been spent on project costs.

As expected the bill for the new athletics facility at the University is set to top £1 million.

Most of the expenditure has been capitalised – meaning that it may be deducted from the £15 million Section 106 monies already paid to the Council by the developers of the adjacent Vanguard development.

Still the figures are a matter of concern as no building works have actually yet started and a final contract decision is not now due to be made until January 2016.

The figures – revealed in a response to a Freedom of Information request – include £506,168 spent on “Interim training/match facilities” The precise make up of this expenditure has not yet been provided.

The information has been released at a time when one of the core tenants for the community facilities being provided at Monks Cross has withdrawn. St John’s say that their new sports development on Haxby Road – where the Knight Rugby Team now train – meets al their sporting needs.

The Council have remained tight lipped about how much rental they hope to gain, from the lease of community facilities sapce, to organisations like the NHS and the Libraries social enterprise company.

Without this income the running costs of the stadium could fall on taxpayers.

Community Stadium costs to 18th Aug 2015