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York City FC on verge of stadium deal
YORK City finally looks set for a new super-stadium after the club revealed it is on the verge of a deal with landowners and council chiefs.
Stadium development director Ian McAndrew said the club had made "very significant progress" since the start of the year.
He said it had now identified the site of its proposed new home and aimed to submit a planning application within months.
The Press understands the ground will be on either the British Sugar, York Central or Nestlé North sites, and will be similar to that built for Dartford FC two years ago, but with a larger capacity.
Mr McAndrew said: "In the first three months of this year, we have made very significant progress. It is correct that we have a site identified which is deliverable."
He said the club was in discussions with the council and site owners, but said he could not reveal the precise location due to confidentiality agreements.
City of York Council leader Steve Galloway said his aspiration was for a 10,000-seater stadium which would be enough for the city's football and rugby teams. But, speaking at the launch of his party's election manifesto yesterday, he said it may start out smaller, at 6,000 or 7,000.
Asked who would own the ground, Coun Galloway said: "The most likely way forward would be for the football club to own the stadium, but if it were to be extended, other partners would come into play, in which case it might be more of a trust arrangement."
City needs to formally identify a site this year, and secure planning permission by 2009, to avoid financial penalties on its £2 million loan from the Football Foundation.
Coun Galloway said the stadium would house other facilities as well. He declined to state which site was at the forefront, but said if it were Nestlé North it would have other sports facilities, and if it were in the city centre, it was likely there would be a hotel or fitness facility.
In February, The Press exclusively revealed that City had embarked on talks with Nestlé about acquiring land at the northern end of its factory between Haxby Road and Wigginton Road.
City fan George Rowe welcomed the news that a new stadium was in sight.
He said: "It's the first I have heard of it, but it's good. Personally, I would prefer the Nestlé Rowntree land."
York City's new home could adopt several features used in Dartford FC's Princes Park Stadium. That ground, which opened two years ago, has a capacity of 5,000.
It has timber cladding, its own water recycling system and a grassed roof.
A picture of the stadium is included in the election manifesto of York's Liberal Democrats.
Mr McAndrew said: "We will be looking at a very sustainable building. We want the scheme to be iconic."
Football club looks at three sites
The three sites on the apparent shortlist for York City's new stadium are the British Sugar factory, York Central and Nestlé North.
York Central is the vast teardrop-shaped piece of land behind York Station. It has long been City's preferred new location, but stadium development director Ian McAndrew recently voiced concern over its viability.
The imminent closure of British Sugar unlocks another vast piece of land, which City have also considered moving to. City of York Council leader Steve Galloway recently said a major planning analysis would reveal what was possible on the site, and when. There are not yet any detailed proposals for the site in the public domain.
In February this year, The Press revealed that City was looking at land at the north end of the Nestlé complex in Wigginton Road.
At the time, the confectionery giant confirmed discussions had begun. When contacted by The Press yesterday, they declined to comment further.