We are only a month into York City’s final season at Bootham Crescent, but Persimmon is wasting no time in promoting what comes next.

Bootham Crescent consultation event
  • Thurs Sept 20 @ 3pm-7pm
  • St Luke’s Parish Church, Burton Stone Lane

The developer holds the rights to build on the site after City and the Knights decamp to the York Community Stadium in Huntington next year. And it wants to build around 80 homes there.

This week it has begun leafleting residents close to the stadium to invite them to a public consultation event where they will present their proposals and answer questions.

But that decision has drawn criticism from York City FC, which said it was ‘surprised and disappointed’ by the timing.

Consultation event ‘essential’

Not long for this world… Bootham Crescent. Photograph: Matthew King
The consultation event on September 20 will be prior to Persimmon submitting a formal planning application to City of York Council.

York City’s stadium development director Ian McAndrew said:

  • The consultation event is an essential part of the planning process if permission is to be granted for development on the Bootham Crescent site.

    The club, however, is surprised and disappointed that little notice has been served, especially as any future application for planning permission will need to be made under the joint names of Persimmon Homes and York City Football Club.

    The club feels that supporters – as well as residents – should be given an opportunity to comment on proposals for the future development of the site which has been home to York City Football Club since 1932.

    The club has recently instructed Savills property consultants’ specialist residential development team to act on its behalf to ensure that Persimmon’s proposals maximise the benefits of a site which occupies an important location close to the city centre.

Very valuable

Photograph: YorkMix
The 4.24 acre (1.7 hectare) site, so close to York city centre, is very valuable and the football club wants a say in its future.

Mr McAndrew said York City look forward to working closely with Persimmon to achieve the best outcome: “Bootham Crescent has been the club’s home for 86 years and, whilst we are looking forward to relocating into new and exciting facilities at Monks Cross, the future use and redevelopment of our current home remains very important to us.”

Simon Usher, managing director at Persimmon Homes Yorkshire, said:

  • We are currently in the pre-application stage for our new development at Bootham Crescent football stadium.

    Balancing the need for new homes with the concerns of the existing community can be challenging and we appreciate the sensitive nature of this site. Therefore, our public consultation on 20th September not only follows planning policy, but is important to us.

    All thoughts and suggestions received, as part of the consultation, will be carefully considered prior to submitting our planning application to York City Council.

How we got here

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In July 1999, ownership of Bootham Crescent was transferred to a holding company called Bootham Crescent Holdings (BCH) for £165,000.

Chairman Douglas Craig put the ground and the club up for sale for £4.5 million in December 2001, saying the club would fold if no buyer was found.

In 2002 John Batchelor takes over the club, but it emerges he doesn’t own the ground, and the club’s lease will soon run out.

Persimmon, which owns 10% of the BCH shares, applied to City of York Council to build 93 homes on the site. The newly set up Supporters’ Trust opposes the plans, and there are huge fan protests.

In February 2004 York City – now owned by the trust – buys Bootham Crescent, after a £2 million loan from the Football Stadia Improvement Fund.

Persimmon Homes have first refusal on buying Bootham Crescent, the deal giving the company an option to buy it at a 10% discount of its market value

“The eventual outcome saw Bootham Crescent successfully bought back by the club with Persimmon having the benefit of an option to buy the site once the club had relocated – and this was also a condition of the deal and required by the football authorities,” says York City FC director Ian McAndrew.

“The agreement includes timescales for exercising the option after a new stadium is built and satisfactory planning consent has been achieved.”