York Community Stadium further delayed. Now set to open April-May, 2017

The inside of the York Community Stadium, according to the original artist's impression
19 Aug 2015 @ 3.53 pm
| News, Sport

It was meant to open by the start of the 2016/17 season. Now it looks doubtful that York Community Stadium will be open by season’s end.

One month after revealing that the opening date had been postponed till ‘mid-season’, City of York Council have drawn up another revised timetable.

This will see the “sports stadium to be operational in April/May 2017 and with the wider facilities to be completed in May/June 2017”.

Plans for the 8,000-seater stadium also include a swimming pool as well as hospitality, fitness, play and conference facilities.

A report going to next week’s meeting of the council executive says that the project will “remain on-budget at the levels agreed by Labour last autumn”.

Pre-contract work to demolish the existing stadium and extend the Monks Cross Park & Ride will be brought forward.

Construction work is now scheduled to begin in February/March next year.

‘Project back on track’

The Conservative-Lib Dem coalition, which has run York council since the May elections, blamed its Labour predecessor for the delay.

Conservative Cllr Chris Steward, leader of the council, said:

We are committed to the delivery of the community stadium and to do it in a way which provides a leading venue for the football and rugby clubs and other partners, but does so in a way which gives value for all council taxpayers.

We would not start from this point in many respects, as Labour had unfortunately vastly over-complicated the project and their inefficiency has led to cost overruns and delays.

However, we have shown that in the months to date we are getting this project back on track and will deliver where sadly the previous administration has failed.

‘A major delay’

Stuart Barnes, deputy leader of the Labour Group in York, told YorkMix he was “disappointed for people in York, not least the York City and York Knights fans”.

He said:

Let’s be crystal clear about the facts behind today’s announcement from the Tories and Lib-Dems.

What’s been announced is a major delay. Labour left the community stadium project having secured planning approval and with an accurate business plan including the budget.

At present Cllr Ayre has tried to pin the blame for his failure on Labour because of a ‘complex procurement process’.

I’m not sure what he expected, did he think that a £41m development would be easy?

He said Councillors Ayre and Steward “are clearly trying to deflect attention for this mess.

“Eventually they will have to begin to take the stabilisers off and start taking responsibility for running the City of York Council.”