A York councillor has branded the idea of explaining why York Stadium is being delayed as ‘a frankly ridiculous idea’.
Cllr Nigel Ayre was speaking after he revealed another reason for the hugely overdue project which, YorkMix understands, might not open till at least February 2020.
Changes to the design of an outpatient clinic at the new stadium have added to the delays, a council meeting was told.
The NHS was supposed to provide design plans for their part of the project by May 2018 – but the layouts were not received until last December according to a council report.
Multitude of reasons
Speaking at a City of York Council meeting, Cllr Mark Warters asked if the NHS has signed its lease for their “huge part of the project” and added: “Can the executive member confirm if the changing of specifications for the NHS for their occupancy has led to the current long-running delays to the project?
“And can those members confirm who is paying for these changes and who will pick up the tab if the NHS doesn’t sign up to a lease?”
Cllr Ayre, executive member for finance and performance, agreed that alterations had caused some delays. And he confirmed the NHS have signed their paperwork for the scheme.
He said: “There are a multitude of reasons in terms of impacting upon the timescale of that project.
“Changes introduced by the NHS have led to certain aspect of delay.”
But he added that the council cannot reveal all the details of any setbacks:
It’s commercially confidential and it’s not something that we can begin to discuss.
We do receive monthly updates from the contractor – there are a lot of conversations that we have behind closed doors.
The suggestion that we should start publishing all our commercially confidential information to the public, thus weakening our position with the contractor and ultimately definitely increasing the cost to us as a council and to the taxpayer, by weakening what we can have with that contractor, is a frankly ridiculous idea.
£10 parking on hold
A report prepared for the meeting said delays are also partly caused by “issues relating to the electrical supply connections”.
Huntington and New Earswick councillor Keith Orrell asked whether plans to charge fans £10 to park at the new stadium were still set to go ahead.
Cllr Ayre said he has put the proposals on hold – for the moment – adding: “I can confirm I have asked that it is not implemented at this moment in time and this particular issue will come to a joint decision session with myself and Cllr D’Agorne to consider the matter further.”
York City Knights were due to play their first match at the new Community Stadium today (20 July), against Bradford Bulls.
But they were told in February that this will not happen.
No fresh opening date for the venue has been revealed yet.
A council report says confirmation of a sponsor and naming of the stadium is also expected by the autumn.