THE site for York’s new council headquarters will be revealed within weeks – amid warnings the city cannot afford a repeat of the “farce” which has dogged the project so far.

City of York Council will announce which of two locations is the preferred option for its city centre base at a meeting of the authority’s executive on December 15, as well as naming the firm tasked with building it.

The choice is between refurbishing and expanding insurance giant Aviva’s Yorkshire House building on the corner of Rougier Street and Station Road, or the nearby West Offices in Station Rise. Council leader Andrew Waller said the announcement will be “of interest to a large section of the city” and a shot in the arm for the local construction sector, but opposition politicians said the pressure was on to ensure a repeat of the previous HQ fiasco is averted.

That saw plans for a purpose-built base in Hungate scrapped as costs rose and English Heritage opposed the scheme, with nearly £5 million of taxpayers’ money having been spent on the move. More than £1 million has since been written off as lost.

Coun Waller said the submitted tenders for the project have been reviewed and the results would go before the ruling Lib-Dem executive in two weeks.

“The preferred bidder will be recommended to the executive, as will the preferred site,” he said.

“We feel we are moving forward with this project now. As soon as the bidder is approved, contracts can be finalised and work can start on the site, which will be a boost to the construction industry in the city – we will be looking to maximise the benefit to local firms.”

Choosing Yorkshire House would involve extending the building to the south-west, including a new main entrance, while West Offices – conservation group York Civic Trust’s preferred option – would also require significant expansion.

Conservative group leader Ian Gillies said: “Hungate was a total farce and it is about time this project was sorted out.

“I will be hoping for a bit of belated professionalism and a result which delivers a new HQ on budget and within the timescale already stated.”

Meanwhile, his Labour counterpart, David Scott, said his fears that the council may not get the price it hopes to fetch from selling its existing buildings – increasing its need for borrowing – remained.

“We have got to get it right and get it done on time and on budget, otherwise it makes no sense – we have not got the money to waste on another Hungate,” he said.