THE city council could have to pay out an extra quarter of a million pounds a year for the Community Stadium, if the NHS does not sign on the dotted line.

The health service in York is due to occupy some of the community space at the new stadium complex, but city councillors will be told this week that final contracts have not been signed.

In an update on major projects, reports prepared for a council audit committee show the NHS has not yet signed a lease agreement, and they warn that if it does not do so by the time the construction deals are finalised the council could be left underwriting costs of £240,000 a year.

The chief executives of both City of York Council and the NHS Trust are in talks, the paper adds, and the risk posed is assessed as 19/25, where 25 is the highest and one the lowest level of risk.

York Press:

Overall, the stadium project is said to be “amber” in terms of risk to the council.

A city council spokesperson has said the risks are “unlikely to ever happen” but good project management principles require them to be recorded.

If the NHS were to withdraw the council would look for other tenants, the spokesman added.

The NHS and other tenants have signed non-legally binding Heads of Terms agreements, but they cannot sign the lease documents until the construction tender and the final price are agreed, they added.

York Hospital boss Pat Crowley spoke at the planning meeting for the stadium in 2014, saying an NHS hub at the new complex would relieve pressure on the hospital, and improve the health of people across the city.

The multi-million project is currently without a builder, after previous contractors ISG pulled out over rising costs and a legal delay.

The council won a legal battle over its decision to allow a large new cinema in the complex in January, but with main operators GLL currently looking for a new building contractor construction is not expected to start until autumn at the earliest and the football and rugby clubs will not be able to get into the new ground until late 2018 or even 2019.

The project currently has the NHS, York Against Cancer, and York Explore libraries on board as tenants, but York St John University and Be Independent - the equipment loan service for disabled people - have already backed out. Earlier this year the council’s financial boss Ian Floyd warned that if the stadium project were to collapse, the authority would be left with abortive costs of up to £4.2 million, which would wipe out a large chunk of the council’s cash reserves. The project update shows Bootham Crescent’s licence has been extended until the end of 2018.