PLANS to replace and upgrade an athletics track at the University of York have been lodged after a scheme to build a new sporting facility nearby was dropped.

City of York Athletic Club was originally expected to move to a new base at the York Sport Village, in Heslington, ahead of Huntington Stadium – its current home – being demolished to make way for a new community stadium.

However, City of York Council said last year that the risk of the project’s costs increasing had led to a switch of sites, with the existing cinder track at the University of York’s nearby Heslington West campus being replaced instead.

A planning application for the work has been submitted and a decision is due to be made at the start of May, with the aim of completing the floodlit, county-standard track by the end of the year.

The council has said the upgrade will save a considerable amount and mean the new track will be ready sooner than the Sports Village scheme would have been.

It will also be of better quality and have a field events area, although opposition parties questioned the decision process behind the change of sites when it was announced last September.

A clubhouse and new sand-based football and hockey pitch are also intended to be built next to the site.

A statement from Sports Labs Ltd, the agents for the scheme, said: “The proposals will provide a new, up-to-date athletics facility for both students and the community, which will attract new users and national competitions to the area.

“The university is keen to have a first-class sports facility at their disposal. The local community, in particular the running clubs, were also consulted and they would like a safe and clean facility suitable for their members.

“The athletics club wanted a track suitable to hold significant events and provide ample opportunities for training.”

Sports Labs said the Heslington West site was “not without problems”, as the existing track has six lanes and its replacement will have eight, and work will have to be carried out around water pipes which are in poor condition.

New 20-metre floodlights and a three-metre perimeter fence will also be installed.