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

Met Office – Red warning of rain in York area for rest of Saturday. Football and race meetings cancelled

rain umbrella full size getty

“Heavy and persistent rain will continue to affect western parts of both West and North Yorkshire through the course of Boxing Day. The heaviest rain is expected to occur this morning, before easing for a time this afternoon. A further spell of heavy rain is then likely this evening before a clearance takes place from the northwest.

Please take action to remain safe and protect property: widespread flooding will lead to high levels of disruption to travel, deep, fast-flowing watercourses and an associated possible danger to life.

A band of rain has become slow-moving across the region. 30 to 60 mm of rain has already fallen widely, with a further 30 to 50 mm expected in some places. Some upland areas may see around 120 mm over the entire event, including the rain that has already fallen. This is expected to lead to widespread river flooding, whilst the shorter-period accumulations will result in high impacts from surface water flooding”. Met Office

  • Wetherby race meeting cancelled
  • York City v Northampton postponed


Large number of objections to Bootham Crescent license application

Bootham Crescent

A proposal by the owners of Bootham Crescent – home of York City Football Club – to extend its entertainment and alcohol licenses to cover the period from 10:00am until midnight each day has attracted 13 objections. This is a relatively large number for an application concerning an established facility.

The changes to the stadium’s license will be considered at a meeting tomorrow (Monday)

Most of the objections relate to concerns about additional noise and disruption. Others point to parking and other issues particularly if outdoor concerts are authorised.

A list of conditions which are likely to be imposed has been drawn up by officers

NB York City were due to move into a new ground at Huntington next year. Delays in the plan have been revealed with details likely to be revealed at a meeting taking place on 27th August 2015

York Community Stadium clears another hurdle… survey boost for Knights fans

The York Planning Committee has today approved the latest plans to build a Community Stadium at Huntington.

The decision comes 5 years after an agreement was reached on how a new stadium could be funded.

Community Stadium Nov 2014

The decision was expected following a recommendation for Council officials that the plans should be approved. Outline planning permission had been granted in 2012 and the full Council had, last October, accepted a new financial package which included the provision of more retail floor-space.

The new plans did, however, lead to the closure of Waterworld with the future of the Yearsley pool also placed in jeopardy.

There were surprisingly few objections from other retailers to the new plans while concerns about traffic and parking arrangements were also muted.

The plans will now be put to the Secretary of State. He could decide to “call in” the plans. With the present Parliament due to be dissolved on Monday prior to the General Election, it is likely to be June before any decision on the referral is made.

History may record that the most difficult times for the project have yet to come.

A deal with rugby is essential if the stadium asset is to be fully exploited (and business plan income achieved). There were also some awkward conditions imposed in the original planning application which have yet to be satisfied.

A solution to the Yearsley pool issue will be one of the first issues on the new Councils agenda when it too meets for the first time in June.

Then there is the ambitious 12 month building timetable. As we have said before, we doubt if a stadium could be completed for the start of the 2016 football season; but we hope we are proved to be wrong.

The less complicated project plan – agreed 5 years ago – would have been implemented by now.

We would have a stadium with both football and rugby being played there.

It remains to be seen whether the delays have been worthwhile.

Boost for Knights

York Knights

In a survey undertaken by Liberal Democrats on thee west of the City residents were asked whether they agreed with following statement

” The Council should ensure that the Knights rugby team are able play matches at the new community stadium”

  • 70% agreed
  • 10% disagreed
  • 20% were undecided.

Community Stadium opening date – York Council to hear latest fantasy league predictions

Huntington Stadium April 2014
Leisure chief Cllr Sonja Crisp will be asked to give a firm opening date for the new Community Stadium at Huntington when the Council meets on Thursday.

Funding for the stadium (£12m) was agreed in 2010 and confirmed when planning permission for the new Monks Cross development was granted in 2011.

That development – which includes the John Lewis store -was finished and opened several months ago.

The Council has been very slow to start work on an alternative athletics facility having dithered over the precise location for the track on the York University campus.

Only an immediate start on the stadium in the autumn (when the athletics season comes to an end) would give some hope that it could be in use for the 2016/17 football stadium (the Football League frowns on Clubs that try to change homes mid season)

"I've still got a job in football. I'm building the Huntington Stadium" click for full interview

“I’ve still got a job in football. I’m building the Huntington Stadium” click for full interview

But the Stadium  has yet  to receive detailed planning permission and Cllr Crisp has been unable to even decide who will manage the stadium.

Cllr Ian Cuthbertson has now tabled the following question for the meeting next week,

“What is the Cabinet Member’s deadline for starting work on the ground at the new Community Stadium at Huntington and what is her current best estimate of its opening date?”

In April, Council Leader James Alexander tweeted to give an absolute guarantee that “construction work on the Stadium would start by March 2015”

Most stadia take at least 18 months to build.

Knavesmire sports pavilion slips 12 months….Community Stadium update

New pavilion design

New pavilion design

The ambitious plans to provide a replacement pavilion on the little Knavesmire for the Hamilton Panthers football team looks like being delayed.

The York Council has set aside £350,000 to part fund the £600,000 project. But it seems that funding from Sport England has been delayed.

The project which will see a new clubhouse and changing rooms built on the site of an old ROC World War II building was given planning permission in 2012.

At that time it was hoped that the new facility would be available for use in early 2014, but this now seems unlikely


The Council is also saying that the new Community Stadium – which will be built on the site of the existing Huntington Stadium – will cost £1.85 million this year.

The total cost is now put at £18.6 million

It is unclear how the council intends to recover it’s investment (now thought to be around £4 million) or whether it includes the capitalised salaries of those who are working on the project.

It is understood that formal bids for the construction of the stadium will be considered in January, with the hope that construction will be completed in 2016.

The project is running 2 years behind schedule.