Updated: A NEW home for York’s football and rugby league clubs will be built at Monks Cross, it has been revealed.

City of York Council’s ruling executive has chosen an out-of-town site as its preferred location for a 6,000 all-seater arena to house York City FC and York City Knights after a shortlist of four options was cut down.

If the recommendation is approved by the full authority and funding and planning permission for the new stadium is secured, it will mean the days of football at Bootham Crescent, which has been City’s home since 1932, will be numbered.

Bootham Crescent and the neighbouring Duncombe Barracks was one of the other sites considered.

The Monks Cross option, which includes the Knights’ current Huntington Stadium ground and the Vangarde site previously earmarked as the base for banking giant HSBC’s data centre, was also selected ahead of a sites at Mille Crux/Nestlé North and Hull Road, next to the University of York’s Heslington East campus extension.

City chairman Jason McGill had said ahead of yesterday’s executive meeting that the Minstermen’s preference would be for a completely new stadium at Monks Cross, but they would not support a purely refurbished Huntington Stadium.

The estimated cost of a basic ground there is £11.5 million, rising to £17.5 million with added community and commercial facilities, although funding gaps running into millions of pounds must be bridged.

“I am pleased all three of our partner organisations – City, the Knights and City of York Athletics Club, who would move from Huntington Stadium to the York Sport Village at Heslington – have now made a firm commitment on their preferred site for the new stadium,” said the council’s executive member for city strategy, Coun Steve Galloway.

“As a football supporter myself, I do recognise that, for nostalgic reasons at least, many would have preferred to have established a facility at Bootham Crescent.

“But possible conflicts of land ownership, outside the council’s control, could have jeopardised such a move and the site would have been very limited in what could have been provided there.

“There will be concerns at Monks Cross about traffic issues. These need to be addressed properly, but it must be remembered that crowds will only seek to access the area on 23 occasions per year in addition to the current rugby calendar. The site also has the advantage of a good Park&Ride service and it is likely this would be increased as part of any associated development.”

Coun Galloway warned there were “still several hurdles to overcome”, including obtaining planning permission for an “enabling development” which would provide crucial funds for the stadium, but said any chance of having the stadium ready before 2014, the current earliest completion date, would be taken.

And he said any public money injected into the scheme from the council would probably be in the form of a loan to a stadium management company, with the cash then being repaid through the enabling development or commercial facilities at the venue.

“I do not wish any stadium to become a burden on taxpayers or on the rugby or football clubs, but I do believe the city would expect us to grasp this opportunity,” he said.