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Monks Cross development would bring £14.5m and 400 jobs say experts
ECONOMIC experts say a new shopping development and community stadium project in York would bring at least £14.5 million a year into the city’s economy and create more than 400 new jobs – but would hit existing businesses.
A report summarising findings by the Regional Economist Unit (REU), which assesses the economic impact of major Yorkshire developments, said up to £11 million would also come into York’s coffers annually during the three-year construction period on the Monks Cross scheme, which City of York Council will debate on May 17.
Oakgate (Monks Cross) Ltd’s proposals include John Lewis and Marks & Spencer stores and a new ground for York City FC and York City Knights, with the firm saying 1,000 permanent new jobs would be created.
A council officers’ analysis of REU’s findings said an estimated 430 full-time equivalent jobs would be provided, once new roles created directly and indirectly and “possible job losses as a result of the impact on existing retailers” were taken into account.
It claimed city-centre trade would be “temporarily” lost to Monks Cross, but the city centre “remains our priority for investment” and York had “shown resilience in the face of recent economic challenges”.
Council leader James Alexander said the report had “put my mind at ease”.
He said: “This is the opportunity of a generation, and if this opportunity is passed up, I’m of the opinion we can forget about development in York for a great many years.
“Why would major businesses want to invest in a city with a track record for turning down major developments?”
But Nick Eggleton, of the Campaign For York, which opposes the plans, said the report was not “impartial”.
He said: “This is the threat of decades of underinvestment in the city centre, hundreds of job losses, unbearable traffic congestion and a white elephant stadium.
“Far from dissuading investment, refusal of the plans would encourage progress on the Castle Piccadilly development, which would otherwise be in jeopardy.”