COUNCIL bosses are looking at the viability of major schemes – including York Central and the Castle Gateway redevelopment – and if they will be able to go ahead after the coronavirus lockdown.

Most of the money secured for these projects come from government grants and other public bodies, as well as loans.

City of York Council leader Keith Aspden says the pandemic presents challenges for the city but it “does not affect the potential of the York Central scheme”. He said the development will revitalise the economy and benefit residents.

A report written for senior councillors says all major projects will need to be reviewed in light of the pandemic, and it adds: “This will include considering the overall purpose of the scheme and whether they are still financially viable given the risk to the overall economy.”

The council is losing nearly £1 million a month while the lockdown restrictions are in place – as it loses income from car parks, rents, council tax and fees.

And it is facing increasing costs during the outbreak - including extra staff to help vulnerable children, support including buying extra personal protective equipment for carers working in adult social care, and accommodation for rough sleepers.

The government has given more than £10.4 million to the council to help during the pandemic - but the local authority predicts the outbreak will cost it about £35 million this year.

The report says the council does not currently have cashflow problems – but this could change – and may mean the council has to focus on providing only the most basic services.

Cllr Aspden welcomed the extra funding from government but said: “It is important that we know the additional costs of our response will not affect the council’s longer-term finances, particularly in providing services to children and in adult social care.

“The Covid-19 crisis poses unprecedented challenges to all local authorities and we will continue to work together to deliver essential services and key projects like York Central.”

Cllr Nigel Ayre, executive member for finance, said major projects will be key to helping York recover from the crisis.

He said: “Major regeneration schemes such as York Central, the Guildhall restoration and Castle Gateway will form an important part in the regeneration and recovery of the city and our economy following this pandemic.

“Along with partners we will be focused on ensuring there continues to be skilled jobs, new homes and improved public spaces for everyone to use.

“York Central is particularly important for the long term future of the city and whilst the programme is already funded through a combination of Government and Local Enterprise Partnership Grants and Enterprise Zone backed borrowing, we will of course be aware of any risks that arise due to Covid as with all major capital schemes.” The response to coronavirus will be discussed at the council’s first video link executive meeting on May 7 from 5.30pm.