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Site named for Community Stadium in York

Site named for Community Stadium in York

4:12pm 6th July 2010
(Updated 4:13pm 6th July 2010)

Steps forward regarding a Community Stadium for York.

The Huntington Stadium at Monks Cross has today been named as the council's preferred site for the development.

Three of the other proposed locations ere Bootham Crescent, Hull Road and Mille Crux / Nestle.

Commenting on the choice of Monks Cross as the preferred option, Liberal Democrat Executive Member for City Strategy, Councillor Steve Galloway said, there were two key factors affecting the decision for the preferred site.

He said, “There is an imperative to get work started as quickly as possible if we are to provide facilities which will allow the professional teams to prosper and athletes to benefit from the spin offs from the 2012 Olympic games. There are externally imposed deadlines – such as the availability of funding from the Football Foundation – which have to be met. Therefore certainties about land ownership are important and options, where the partners have a large measure of control over a particular site, are likely to be delivered most quickly.”

“Secondly, it is clear that any new stadium would have to be, at least, part funded by developer contributions. A solution where enabling development is closely and obviously associated with the new sports facilities is likely to withstand legal scrutiny more successfully than one where S106 contributions are “exported” to another part of the City. All options do, however, assume a change in traditional Council planning attitudes with flexibility on retail land use, green belt or public open space being required for differing options.”

Councillor Galloway said, “The status quo is not an option. The Football Club needs additional revenue streams to survive. The rugby, athletics and swimming pool facilities at Huntington are limited, require refurbishment and, with the current management lease due to expire in 2012, face an uncertain future.”

“I am pleased that all 3 of our partner organisations have now made a firm commitment on their preferred site for the new stadium. All favour the Monks Cross option. In doing so they have recognised that it is important to make every effort to secure contributions from the private sector towards modernising both spectator sports and participatory sports facilities in the City.”

"If the Council approves the initiative then we will move as quickly as practical to take advantage of the opportunity that has presented itself. If possible we will improve on the “lead in” times quoted in the report.”

“I, as a football supporter myself, 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 Councils control – could have jeopardised such a move and the site would have been very limited in what could have been provided there.”

“I can also say to the football and rugby fans who have written to say that they would like to have standing areas within the new stadium that the requirement for an all seater design is currently imposed by the Football foundation. Certainly the Council would not seek to impose such a restriction, at least as long as the clubs are outside the upper reaches of their respective league pyramids.”

“There will be concerns at Monks Cross about traffic issues. These need to be addressed properly but it must be remembered that crowds – currently of the order of 3000 or so – will only seek to access the area on 23 occasions per year in addition to the current rugby calendar where crowds are more typically around 1000. Some of the football matches will be on a Tuesday evening when there is less traffic in the area. The site also has the advantage of a good park and ride service which I would expect most fans would wish to take advantage of. It is likely that the park and ride capacity will be increased as part of any associated development.”

“There is rarely an ideal time to commit to any major capital project and there are currently still several hurdles to overcome. Not least amongst these will be the need to get planning permission for any enabling development.”

“In addition should a capital injection from the Councils capital budget (as opposed to transferring the existing site into the project) then I would expect that this would be done as a loan to any emerging stadium management company. Over time it would be repaid from the income derived from either the enabling development or “on site” commercial activities.”

“I do not wish any stadium to become a burden on taxpayers or on the rugby and football clubs. The structure of the management arrangements will have to be carefully developed to avoid such a possibility.”

“But I do believe that the City would expect us to grasp this opportunity and therefore the Executive will commend the project to the Council.”

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