JOHN Batchelor finally revealed today where he wants to build York City's new stadium - and then unleashed a stinging attack on "inept" council planners.

The City chairman said he was at an advanced stage of negotiations for a site near Ikon and Diva nightclubs at Clifton Moor which he believes would be ideal. But he claimed that when the site was put to to City of York Council, officers had suggested he would have to fund dualling of the nearby York Outer Ring Road.

He was now putting negotiations on hold for 30 days to give the authority time to come back to the club with a more positive attitude, say where it would like the club to go and also indicate what facilities it would like the stadium to offer.

"I am not prepared to put up with the inept bungling of the morons in charge of running this city," he declared, branding the council "shambolic."

He claimed officers had suggested he might look at Foss Islands Road for the stadium, but said this was "ludicrous" because the site was smaller than Bootham Crescent and land values were too high.

He warned that if the authority did not change its stance, he would put in an application regardless. He did not want a fight, but if he was forced into one, he would put up York City candidates at next May's council elections.

Mr Batchelor said there were traffic problems in Bootham every Saturday afternoon. "If we are as successful next season as we intend, it will be gridlock there! But the attitude seems to be that's OK because it's an existing use."

He also complained that he had been barred from speaking directly to councillors about the club's desire to move.

But Roy Templeman, the city council's director of environment and development services, today insisted the council was not taking a negative stance towards York City's potential move from its current home at Bootham Crescent. "We want to help it get a new site in the city," he said.

However, he confirmed there would be "a lot of difficulties" with the suggested site at Clifton Moor.

He said the land was a green belt wedge, and it would therefore be necessary for the applicants to show the stadium could not be sited elsewhere on non-green belt land.

There were also major traffic congestion problems in the area already. "Any of your readers who have been there on a Saturday afternoon or on an evening would know that."

He denied that the council had suggested Mr Batchelor would have to fund dualling of the ring road, but said it was correct that major highway improvements would be needed.

He said there had been "amicable" discussions only yesterday with Harrisons of Malton on behalf of Mr Batchelor, but no firm proposals had been put forward.

When some were made, he pledged that his officers were ready to sit round a table with Mr Batchelor and discuss all the issues.

He suggested Mr Batchelor was trying to use the media to put pressure on the council.

Mr Templeman said planning members had previously expressed a reluctance to enter into discussions at this stage with developers before an application had come in.

Today's news comes only a day after Persimmon announced it had lodged an application to build 93 homes at Bootham Crescent.

Updated: 15:57 Friday, July 26, 2002