COUNCIL chiefs in York have had to spend £1.15 million buying a patch of land once owned by axed quango Yorkshire Forward from the Government, it has been revealed.

City of York Council has confirmed that the purchase of the site at Holgate Park, near the railway station and the CPP headquarters, was completed last July as it will be essential to the huge York Central project.

Local authorities across Yorkshire said this week that they been forced to spend more than £12 million of public money to buy back key development sites across the county, after they were transferred to the Homes and Communities Agency following the abolition of regional development agency Yorkshire Forward.

The Holgate Park land is among them.

York’s council leader James Alexander said: “The purchase of this land was agreed as a strategically important and major piece of land in the York Central development.

“Unfortunately, the Government forced us into purchasing the land rather than transferring it at no cost, which would have avoided the taxpayer paying twice for it.”

Coun Alexander said all parties on the council had supported the purchase.

The Press reported on Saturday that the council had submitted a bid to the Government’s critical infrastructure investment fund, which could fasttrack work on key sites such as York Central, the A19 at Germany Beck in Fulford and the Nestlé Cocoa Works.