COUNCIL chiefs are to appoint a project manager who will be asked to make York’s dream of a new community stadium a reality.

And the person who lands the job will be given an extensive to-do list, headed with earmarking where the new ground, which will be a new home for York City FC and York City Knights, can be built.

The next challenge facing the “stadium tsar” will be to work out how the venue can benefit the wider community and how much it will cost, and then ensure it is built by 2012.

City of York Council’s executive announced the move at a meeting yesterday at which it also confirmed it had decided not to lend City money while the club continues its negotiations over interest payments on its £2 million loan from the Football Foundation.

The authority will also write to the Foundation to back up City’s case by outlining its commitment to delivering the community stadium.

It comes after The Press exclusively reported how the project had hit major funding snags, with Guildhall sources claiming the ground could cost at least £9 million and possibly as much as £13 million, as well as predicting a funding shortfall of between £4 million and £8.3 million, depending on building costs.

But council leader Andrew Waller said he is confident the appointment of a project manager will move the scheme forward.

“It’s a major step towards the provision of a stadium for the city,” he said.

“We’re pleased to reach an understanding with the football club and fully support their application to the Football Foundation. We have shown our resolve by taking steps to appoint a project manager for the community stadium project to ensure its delivery.

“The project manager will be required to identify a suitable site for the stadium, develop the business case and ensure consultation with the community for the delivery of the stadium by 2012.

“The council will maintain its close working relationship with York City FC and York City Knights and we will also work to continue the successful operation of existing sports clubs currently at Huntington Stadium.”

City have claimed that a shared 6,000-capacity venue could be delivered for £9 million or less, and the club’s managing director Jason McGill believes finding a project manager will be a vital step towards determining exactly how much the ground will cost. “It’s a positive move because, if we are going to take things forward, we need to have realistic costing,” he said.

“Our big concern is that further delays would mean the Football Foundation would be well within their rights to say we had contravened our agreement with them for a £2 million grant, and that would be an absolutely tragedy for the club.

“We’re very pleased the executive has taken this decision.”