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Nestlé sell Mille Crux sports field and Joseph Rowntree Theatre
Nestlé chief-executive Paul Grimwood and York St John University Vice-Chancellor David Fleming, discuss the sale of the Rowntree playing fields
NESTLE has sold York’s Joseph Rowntree Theatre and the old Rowntree sports park, Mille Crux, to York St John University.
The company and university said the deal – for an undisclosed amount – would preserve the historic Rowntree legacy and enhance sports facilities.
They pledged that existing users and the local community would benefit as well as students, and would be able to continue using the facilities.
The 57-acre sports park, which includes playing fields, a bowling green, tennis courts and allotments, will be named the York St John University Sports Centre at Nestlé Rowntree Park.
The Joseph Rowntree Theatre, which was built 77 years ago as a venue to provide quality, reasonably-priced entertainment for the people of York by the Joseph Rowntree Village Trust, now the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, will keep its name.
It is run nowadays by Joseph Rowntree Theatre Ltd, a registered charity, and more than 30 local performing groups stage musicals, ballet, opera, pantomime, brass band concerts and traditional drama there.
Paul Grimwood, chief executive and chairman of Nestlé UK & Ireland, said: On the 150th anniversary of Rowntree’s, we are delighted to entrust the legacy of the sports park and the theatre to York St John University.”
He said the sports park was one of the city’s best sporting facilities and the university was in a strong position to enhance it further for existing users, the local community and students.
University vice-chancellor Professor David Fleming said that at the moment, the university’s sports teams had to play at six or seven different locations across the city, but the sports park would provide fantastic new facilities within a fifteen-minute walk of campus.
Students’ Union vice-president Dave Findlay said the Union was ‘really excited’ about the news, which meant fixtures could now be held on one site.
Dan Shrimpton, managing director at Joseph Rowntree Theatre, which will continue to manage and run the theatre, said he was delighted its future as a ‘fantastic venue for the community of York has been secured.’
Meanwhile, the university and Nestlé have also announced plans to establish a Nestlé Scholarship, an annual award for a student who will receive funding to assist in their study, with details to be revealed later.