FIRMS bidding to build York’s community stadium will not have to agree to expand it in the future if city leaders approve changes to the venue’s design.
City of York Council’s original criteria for the new £19 million Monks Cross venue, which would house York City FC and York City Knights, was that it should initially have 6,000 seats but also have the potential for its capacity to be increased to 12,000.
However, an update which will be discussed by the authority’s Labour cabinet to day said this capacity requirement was not possible “without significant compromise to the appearance and design of the stadium”.
It said insisting the stadium was expanded to 12,000 seats would carry “considerable cost for something which may not be required”.
The Press reported last week that officials have recommended including the option of terracing in the new design criteria for the stadium, as this would increase its initial capacity.
If funding from the Football Stadia Improvement Fund (FSIF) is secured before the final stadium plans are submitted, the terms of the deal will mean the ground must be all-seater, although there is a possibility this money may not now be provided.
Two bidders are in the running to design, build and operate the stadium – which has been dogged by delays – and manage the council’s other leisure facilities on a 13-year contract with a potential five-year extension, and are preparing their final proposals.
Work is now due to start in February 2015, with the stadium being ready about a year later.
The report by stadium project manager Tim Atkins and Charlie Croft, assistant director of communities and neighbourhoods, said an expansion requirement would mean a much larger main stand being needed, which would affect the stadium’s overall design.
It said an expansion to 12,000 seats was no longer necessary to meet the requirements of football and rugby league governing bodies and there was “ongoing pressure” from City and fans to include some terracing.
“It is evident that some of the original criteria set out for the stadium are not achievable,” said the report, adding that if both ends of the ground had a 1,000-seat capacity, terracing them instead could raise this to 1,700.
It said an initial 6,000 capacity had always been seen as the maximum possible with the funding available.