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City of York Athletics Club on track
CITY of York Athletics Club could get a new track regardless of whether the community stadium plan gets the go ahead.
Councillors attending next week’s cabinet meeting of City of York Council will be asked to approve plans to allocate £2 million of “prudential borrowing” for the construction of a 500 capacity grandstand and track with University of York at the York Sports Village.
The report to that meeting reveals the new facilities are not dependent on the Monks Cross stadium project, which aims to provide a new home for York City and York City Knights, getting the thumbs up.
The athletics club, which boasts more than 500 members, need to have a new track in place before work can start on the community stadium with Tim Atkins, the council’s stadium project manager, saying any gap between the provision of that and the closure of the existing track would have a “significant detrimental effect on the athletics club”.
Atkins said the current athletics track and facilities were “nearing the end of their useful life” and were “unlikely to obtain a further certificate to hold competition events”.
Of the proposal, he added: “This would have the least impact on the continuity of the club’s operation, while supporting and developing its far reaching community work. Should planning permission not be obtained for the community stadium the current facilities at Huntington Stadium are unlikely to be sustainable creating a threat to the future of the of the athletics club.
“The university are in a position to proceed with the delivery of the new scheme. Any significant delay could weaken this as an option, which in turn would threaten the deliverability of the community stadium project.”
Neil Hunter, chairman of City of York Athletics Club, was “thrilled” by the news but added he remained firmly behind the stadium vision – arguing that a rejection of that plan would leave a “hollow” feeling.
“We are delighted. There is no getting away from that,” he said. “But we are part of a major project with three partners. We hope this is the first stage of the full vision being delivered. If that turned out to be not the case it would feel a bit hollow.”
Meanwhile, £750,000 is to be set aside to fund new training facilities for York City Knights – with a third of that money to be used to cover costs during the interim arrangement that would see the rugby club groundshare with York City at Bootham Crescent.
Options include the Knights training at York City’s Wigginton Road training base, York Sports Village, York College and York Acorn, while The Press understands the rugby outfit is also looking at other venues.
Atkins added: “The paper provides three deliverable options for a dedicated training facility for the Knights that will also be able to be used for reserve grade games, potentially for both the rugby and football teams.
“These are all deliverable within the budget limit of £500,000. The option of using a re-inforced pitch at the main stadium will also be considered, enabling some reserve team use. All of the options offer wider community sports use and benefit.
“We have now engaged in more detailed discussion with the clubs regarding the options. Critically, the minimum criteria and need for the facility can easily be met and the facilities can be in place prior to the demolition of the existing stadium.”