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Community stadium ‘yes’ vote is ‘vital’ for city clubs
THE ‘yes’ campaign for the proposed new community stadium in York has reached new levels after York City Knights and City of York Athletics Club warned a ‘no’ vote would put the existence of both their clubs in danger.
The plan to rebuild Huntington Stadium using enabling funds from the development of two superstores at Monks Cross goes before City of York Council’s planning committee tomorrow, and the chairmen of the two clubs that currently use the arena have issued a joint statement demanding the scheme is given the green light – saying there are no alternatives.
The project would see the crumbling stadium redeveloped into a 6,000-seater ground to be shared by the rugby league club and double-chasing York City footballers, who are desperate to move there from Bootham Crescent. The athletics club would move to a new dedicated facility at the University of York.
According to Knights chairman John Guildford, who initially had reservations about the business case and where his team would end up training but has since given the scheme full backing – and Neil Hunter, his athletics counterpart, this planning decision made it “a crucial week for sport in the city”.
The statement said they were “fully supportive of the project and believe a planning rejection may result in the end of professional rugby in the city and also the closure of a vibrant community-based athletic club”.
It read: “As the existing tenants of Huntington Stadium, we are most at risk should the new community stadium not be approved, repeatedly advising that the current facilities are in need of significant investment and are simply not fit for purpose.
“If York wants to be seen as a modern city, an attractive place to work and live and, crucially, invest in, then this is exactly the sort of scheme that should be supported.
“It will create amazing community facilities for all York residents and visitors to enjoy and experience.
“After so many years working on the project to make the dream become a reality a ‘no’ vote would effectively say that York has neither vision nor ambition.
“We urge those making the decision to approve this and consider the many positive wider benefits and impact this exciting new community stadium will bring and the devastating impact failure would have on professional and community sport in York.”