YORK’S Community Stadium is likely to have a maximum capacity of 8,000, it has emerged.
The final bidders to construct the new home of York City and York City Knights are being “encouraged” to put forward a design that realises that figure, City of York Council bosses have revealed.
But Coun Sonja Crisp, the authority’s leisure chief, said whether that would be achieved depended on the ability to secure Football Foundation (FSIF) funding, which would mean the ground would be all-seater.
If that grant isn’t forthcoming, terracing would probably be used as part of the design to boost capacity.
The Press reported on Tuesday how the council’s original criteria for the £19 million Monks Cross venue stated that an initial 6,000 seats should have the potential to be doubled.
That requirement was removed following an update to the authority’s Labour cabinet earlier this week after a report said it would not be possible without “significant compromise to the appearance and design of the stadium”.
The two bidders will now be asked to design a stadium that could also be increased to a 10,000 all-seat bowl in the future.
Outline planning consent, though, was only granted for a 6,000 stadium. Any increase in that would require a new planning application to be submitted to the council.
Work is scheduled to get under way in February next year – after the scheme was beset by delays – and the new ground is expected to be completed about a year later.
Crisp said: “Changes to the design criteria for the stadium are being proposed to encourage the final two bidders to come forward with an attractive design that increases the base capacity up to a maximum of 8,000.
“This follows discussions with the bidders’ design teams and the sports clubs.
“However the extent and means to which this is achievable is reliant on our ability to secure the FSIF funding prior to the final submission stage.
“If the funding is not secured, the option of some terracing as part of the overall design could be explored as a means to increase the base capacity.
“The future expansion option of up to 10,000 is also a design requirement.”
Sophie Hicks, York City’s communications and community director, added: “The football club have been in lengthy discussions with City of York Council and have met with the two final bidders.
“We understand the council’s position regarding the issue of further expansion and York City’s main priority is to work with the council to ensure the initial base capacity of the stadium is 8,000 as this fulfils our short to medium term requirements and meets our ambitions.”
Knights chairman John Guildford remained keen to see a mix of seating and standing in the stadium design.
“I hope they listen to the fans and the design comes back with some standing,” he said.