York’s new stadium has been hit by fresh delays – with the shops and commercial units in the complex now not set to open until December at the earliest.
And York City FC is seeking urgent clarification as still no new opening date has been set.
York Central MP Rachael Maskell said the delays are “very disappointing” and she has called on City of York Council to be “more transparent” about the struggles facing the project.
A council report says the project is a minimum of 16 weeks behind schedule – but there is a “potential further delay which as yet is unquantified”.
It adds that the commercial side of the complex – which will have shops and restaurants – will not open until December or later.
Dispute over costs
The council report says:
The commercial development has made a number of changes to the layout of the building for secured tenants.
This has resulted in a four month delay to the handover and opening of the commercial site.
Completion and opening is now expected in autumn 2019. Cost of delay is subject to ongoing dispute. Full extent of the delay is still to be confirmed.
The stadium was due to be finished in May but the scheme was hit by delays in February, when the council said it would not be ready in time for the start of York City’s 2019-20 campaign.
In April, outgoing council leader Ian Gillies said he hoped the stadium would be ready by October.
‘Get a grip’
Ms Maskell said she is “extremely concerned” about the delays, adding:
This project means so much to York’s football and rugby fans and community at large and this news is very disappointing.
The continued delays must also be very difficult for community organisations and businesses waiting to move into the stadium who will now face more uncertainty about when they can start trading.
There is very little information about the nature of the changes that lead to the most recent delays or the cost dispute. What we do know though is that the Lib Dem council are struggling to get a grip on this showcase project.
We also need council leaders to commit to dramatically increase transparency and public over-sight of all our major projects and to ensure they are robustly acting in the interests of York people in all negotiations with third parties.
A spokesman for York City Football Club’s board of directors said: “We are seeking clarity from City of York Council on the timescales for completion of the stadium.
“If the project is delayed further it will, inevitably, provide challenges for the club’s board of directors, supporters, and the footballing authorities.”
Ian Floyd, director for corporate services at the council, said: “Over the past few months, significant progress has been made across the site, with the stadium pitch construction complete and the grass starting to grow.
“In addition, the seats are now installed in three of the stands, the three pools are nearing completion, the cinema is developing well, 3G pitches complete and the commercial units are taking shape.
“Although there is some delay on what is a very complex site, the incredible mix of community, sport and leisure facilities, once complete, will provide a site of real significance for our residents; a site the city and our teams can be proud of.”
He added that “it is important not to speculate at this stage” and there will be a further update at a council executive meeting on June 27.