YORK City are facing an extra season at Bootham Crescent following news that the new community stadium will not now be completed until spring 2017.

A revised construction timeline for the 8,000 seat stadium shows that work will begin next February or March 2016, with the stadium not operational until April or May 2017.

The stadium was originally set to be completed by next summer, enabling York City Football Club to move in at the start of next season.

Club chairman Jason McGill said this afternoon that the delay was frustrating and had financial implications for the club, as it would now be remaining at Bootham Crescent for a further season.

"Our current home is in need of repair and the cost of operating the site continues to grow," he said. "We will be meeting with council representatives to discuss these problems and the loss of income from the delayed move shortly.

“However, the positive aspect is that this is the first time the timeline for building the community stadium has been set in stone.

"It is encouraging to see the firm commitment from the City of York Council and I am sure they will deliver and achieve this realistic schedule."

He said he had recently had a positive meeting with senior councillors and officers, who gave their full support in writing for the community stadium project, its delivery and completion.

He said the club would now move into the new community stadium during the close season, which was advantageous from a football and operations perspective. 

Meanwhile, a paper going to City of York Council's executive next week will say the overall project remains on-budget, at levels agreed by the former Labour cabinet last autumn.

The ruling Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties said that under the previous Labour council, the stadium project had been beset by procurement delays and missed budgets and was mired in a dispute with the rugby club, York City Knights,  which will also use the stadium, leading to a failure to begin work on the project along with soaring legal costs.


"Labour also brought forward plans to cut funding for Yearsley Pool, which campaigners said would lead to the historic pool’s closure," it said.

"Since taking over control of the council in May, the new Conservative-Lib Dem Executive has resurrected the agreement with the Knights, opened the athletics track at Heslington West and is now advancing plans to ensure the delivery of the stadium at Monks Cross."

Cllr Nigel Ayre, Lib Dem Executive Member for Leisure, Culture and Tourism, said: “It remains immensely frustrating that so little progress was achieved under Labour.  They failed to lay a brick in the ground and left behind a project with a number of flaws. 

"These included cuts to the funding for Yearsley Pool, a fractured relationship with the York City Knights and an overly complex procurement process which has meant the project couldn’t be delivered in time for the 2016-17 season. 

"We have worked hard to sort out these issues and produce a new plan to deliver the Community Stadium as quickly as possible.  This report shows progress is being made and I am pleased we are able to bring forward some of the key pre-contract work such as the Park & Ride extension.  Crucially, our plans also secure the long-term future of the much-loved Yearsley Pool.”

Tory council leader Chris Steward said: “We are committed to the delivery of the Community Stadium and to do it in a way which provides a leading venue for the football and rugby clubs and other partners, but does so in a way which gives value for all council taxpayers. 

"We would not start from this point in many respects, as Labour had unfortunately vastly over-complicated the project and their inefficiency has led to cost overruns and delays. 

"However, we have shown that in the months to date we are getting this project back on track and will deliver where sadly the previous administration has failed."

But Stuart Barnes, Deputy Leader of the Labour Group said he was disappointed for people in York, not least York City and York Knights fans, about what was a major delay.

He said: "Labour left the community stadium project having secured planning approval and with an accurate business plan including the budget.

"At present Cllr Ayre has tried to pin the blame for his failure on Labour because of a ‘complex procurement process’.   I’m not sure what he expected, did he think that a £41m development would be easy?"

Referring to reports that Yearsley Pool's future had been secured, he claimed Cllrs Ayre and Steward were trying to deflect attention for the stadium 'mess' but would eventually have to start taking responsibility for running the council.