Plans for 80 homes to be built on York City’s Bootham Crescent stadium have been submitted to the council.
Persimmon Homes is planning to develop the site after York City Football Club moves to the new stadium at Monks Cross this summer.
The club has been based at Bootham Crescent for the last 87 years and stadium development director Ian McAndrew said leaving the ground will be “undoubtedly emotional”.
The planning application, which will be submitted jointly by the developer and the football club, features proposals for 80 houses and apartments including affordable homes.
‘Controverial and emotional’
Mr McAndrew sought to reassure fans and residents about the new development. He said:
Leaving Bootham Crescent is, to some people, controversial and will, undoubtedly, be emotional to all those involved with York City Football Club.
We are conscious of the importance of the stadium to our supporters and, in particular, those families who have scattered the ashes of their relatives there.
I can assure everybody that this issue is at the forefront of our the discussions with both the developer and Historic England.
Whilst the detail is still being worked on, I can confirm that an area within the public open space will be allocated as a place for remembrance as well as there being permanent reminders of the club’s long history on the site.
Fans and residents were invited to have their say on plans for Bootham Crescent during a public consultation last September.
Simon Usher from Persimmon said responses from the consultation were used to inform the development.
He said: “We are aware of the sensitive nature of this development and have carefully considered the views expressed at our public consultation meeting and those of Historic England, which have helped form our recently submitted planning application.”
Mr McAndrew added that he is often asked why Persimmon have the option to buy the site, rather than the 4.24-acre ground being offered on the open market. He said:
It is important to look back in history – as many supporters may not remember the tragic state of affairs in 2002 when the club’s then chairman and directors sold Bootham Crescent to Persimmon Homes leaving the club with only a one year lease.
When the club went into administration in 2003 it was saved at the 11th hour by the supporters – and it was necessary, in order to stay playing in the Football League, for the club to have a minimum secure tenure of ten years.
This was achieved with the support of the city council, giving guarantees whereby – if the club had to leave Bootham Crescent – it would be able to play at the former Huntington Stadium.
In 2005 the club bought Bootham Crescent back on the basis that York City FC would relocate to a new stadium and Persimmon would then have an option to buy the site.