EXTENSIVE plans for York’s new community stadium – also set to include a leisure complex and swimming pool - have been given the go-ahead by cabinet.

City of York Council’s cabinet last night approved borrowing £4million towards financing the project, and full council is now due to debate and make a final decision on whether the borrowing of the funds should be granted.

The total cost of the stadium and leisure complex - plus the replacement athletics track at Heslington West and rugby facilities at York St John - is £37 million. Of that, the City of York Council will contribute a total of £8million - £4million of which is due to be borrowed.

The latest plans for the Huntington site include a leisure complex and a newly built swimming pool to replace Waterworld, a cinema, restaurants and a library.

Cllr James Alexander, leader of the council, said: “This is a huge potential for the city. This is a massive thing we can bring forward for the public.

“This is genuinely a huge opportunity to show members of this city these are facilities for them. These are good quality, nationally recognised facilities. I think that is the right thing to do.”

Other Labour councillors spoke of their approval of the scheme with Cllr David Levene stating that getting “£37 million of facilities for £8million seems to be value for money” and Cllr Sonja Crisp describing the site as a “health and wellbeing hub” for the city.

Project manager Tim Atkins told the meeting the cost of the stadium project was more than anticipated as original estimates had been conservative. But he said the commercial opportunities were positive – with the arrival of John Lewis and Marks and Spencer at the site putting York on the map.

However, speaking at the beginning of the meeting, Conservative councillor Paul Healey questioned whether the council could afford to be drawn into “another major out of town development”.

He expressed doubt over whether the council could justify borrowing £4 million at a time when concerns were continually expressed about restricted budgets.

Further concerns were also expressed about the doubt over the future funding of Yearsley Swimming Pool, with a member of Yearsley Pool Action Group appealing to the cabinet that it was a “unique, historic pool” which had survived the poverty of the 1930s and two World Wars.

Other funding for the £37 million project will come through a £12 million commercial investment, £15 million in developer contributions from the Vangarde site, which was completed earlier this year, and £2 million from York City FC and the Football Stadia Improvement Fund - a loan which has now been converted into a grant to help fund the club’s new home.