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Anger at York community stadium delay
Building work on the new Monks Cross stadium – which will be home to York City FC and York City Knights rugby league club – was due to begin at the end of 2013 to be completed by November 2014 to March 2015, according to a City of York Council report earlier this year.
However, the latest report now says construction will not begin until June 2014, to be finished by July 2015, meaning York City Knights look likely to spend two seasons sharing Bootham Crescent with York City.
It has also been revealed current Huntington Stadium operators, GLL, are making a loss and have given notice to terminate the lease of the stadium on April 2013, which could have left York City Knights homeless, closed the athletics track and shut Waterworld and Courtney’s Gym.
To avoid such a closure, City of York Council is to offer GLL, a social enterprise, a reduced rent for 15 months until June 30, 2014, and underwrite any losses made by GLL for the past three months.
The cabinet will consider whether to approve the plans at a meeting on Tuesday.
John Guildford, chair of York City Knights, questioned the delays and said he could not understand why the project was taking so long. He said: “I think it’s a waste of money. It should be done in a year. It’s disgraceful. We didn’t know about it.”
Sally Burns, director of communities and neighbourhoods at the council, said: “There has always been a provision in the budget for the community stadium to cover demonstrable losses incurred by the Knights or York City Football Club as a result of the interim sharing arrangements at Bootham Crescent. This is for the period 2013 to 2015”.
She said it was hoped the cabinet would approve an extension to the lease with GLL, for up to 15 months.
Coun Ian Gillies, Conservative leader, said decisions were “being taken and figures altered” as the project went on.
He said: “My original objection to the development of the stadium was the lack of a professional and deliverable business case, and I have seen nothing in this report to alter my opinion.”
A York City spokesman said it had been made aware of the delay to the final completion date and said the club would not be too considerably inconvenienced and was looking forward to the project being finished.
Richard France, managing director of Oakgate Monks Cross Ltd said: “It must be noted that the planning process took much longer than anticipated and the council must now adhere to a very lengthy procurement process. Construction timetables will of course reflect that.”