YORK City's hopes of moving to their "preferred site" for a new stadium have ground to a halt.

Speaking at last night's Supporters' Trust annual general meeting, City managing director Jason McGill was careful not to disclose the identity of City's "preferred site" but it is believed land at the nearby Nestlé factory has been considered the most desirable new home for more than a year.

The Press also understands a separate planning issue on the Wigginton Road plot could be causing the delay in identifying a feasible site for professional football in the city with McGill adding he is tiring of the club being used as a "political football".

He said: "We have one preferred site but that has almost ground to a halt, which is frustrating and annoying. We were hoping to make an announcement at Christmas but I fear the club has been used as a political football and used as a lever to achieve other things.

"We could have been talking about 150-year leases, peppercorn rents and a community stadium for the whole city with other facilities on the site as well but it seems that unless people get what they want, we won't get what we want."

McGill added that the delay in helping the club's efforts to move home might cause embarrassment for a council when compared to the support offered by local authorities in other towns.

He also called for a signal of intent and commitment which City of York Council leader Steve Galloway, whose Liberal Democrat party promised to deliver a new sports stadium by 2011 as part of their manifesto last year, answered last night.

Cllr Galloway said: "Supporting the development of a new sports stadium in York is one of the council's corporate commitments. We are working with our partners within the community to ensure that this goes ahead."

But McGill feels that the current composition of the council is not helping the club's cause, saying: "It's difficult to negotiate with a hung council. There's a lot of politics flying around although you would think every party would support a new stadium for the city."

The JM Packaging owner flatly ruled out reconsidering Huntington Stadium, the home of rugby league club York City Knights, as a relocation option and reiterated that time and financial constraints made being part of the proposed York Central venture unviable.

An unidentified new council-owned site has also been the subject of a recent preliminary feasibility study but is not thought to be large enough to accommodate a stadium.

McGill added: "York Central would cost £2million an acre and we would probably need seven acres at £14million. We've not got that in equity from the land we own.

"You are probably looking at a 15-year timescale with that development anyway and we can't wait that long."

City have, though, grown more amenable to the prospect of groundsharing with their rugby league neighbours at a new stadium with McGill saying: "We've seen it work in other places and we may now have to look down that route as well. If we do, the council are also more likely to get involved."

With the cost of staying at their current Bootham Crescent home amounting to almost £200,000 in Football Foundation loan repayments and ongoing maintenance, McGill also warned expectations of the club's potential may have to be lower in forthcoming seasons with the need to preserve its existence paramount.

He said: "We might have to limp along for the next four or five years until we get a new stadium.

"That might mean being a mid-table Conference team because we have to look at the whole structure of the club.

"If we had some movement on the stadium next season though that would at least give us some comfort when we are considering decisions about the future."

Have your say

Does York City's quest for a new ground need more Council backing?