Lib Dem Executive Member secures Knights Stadium deal

York City Knights Rugby Club have today signed an agreement with City of York Council over a new Community Stadium partnership.

Directors from the club joined Liberal Democrat Cllr Nigel Ayre yesterday at West Offices to formalise the agreement. 

Huntington Stadium April 2014

Cllr Nigel Ayre, who is the Executive Member for Culture, Leisure and Tourism, said:

“This is a major step forward for the project and we’re delighted to stand together with the Knights’ Directors today to mark this occasion. Professional rugby has been a part of York’s sporting heritage for generations and today we’ve reached a new agreement that will give York a lasting legacy for the future of rugby. We’re sure sporting fans will join us in marking this significant moment, which will ensure the long-term viability of the club and enhance the success of their current community coaching and engagement programmes here in York.

“We have worked tirelessly since forming the new administration to bring the Knights back into the project and solve the issues we inherited from the failures of the outgoing Labour administration. We have positively engaged with the club and I would like to personally thank the Knights’ Directors and all council officers involved for their efforts in recent weeks.

“The Community Stadium was a Liberal Democrat policy that has suffered as a result of the flawed political leadership in York under Labour. As part of the Joint Executive, we are fully committed to delivering this exciting new facility and ensuring the benefit for all residents of York and a sustainable future for sport in our city.”

The York Community Stadium will provide a new 8,000 seat stadium for football and rugby league, a leisure facility which will include a gym, 25 metre, six-lane swimming pool, a fun pool and training pool, as well as a new sports hall and dance studio.

The Community Hub on site will provide bespoke facilities for project partners with a focus on promoting health and wellbeing for York residents and visitors. The development also includes a number of new retail units restaurants and a multi-screen cinema complex.

For more information visit:

Yearsley pool may get gym extension

Yearsley Pool

Yearsley Pool

Council papers, being considered at a meeting being held on 7th June, suggest that a gym may be constructed next to the Yearsley swimming pool.

The pool had been under threat following an announcement by the last Labour administration that it planned to switch swimming provision to a new location at the Community Stadium. A new pool there would have replaced both “Waterworld” (which has already closed) and Yearsley.

Now a scrutiny committee report has revealed that Nestle – who own the car park and land next to the Yearsley pool – may construct a fitness facility there for use by its employees.

It was the lack of an additional – non swimming – income stream which led to Yearsley requiring a £300,000 a year taxpayers subsidy to keep operating.

What impact the gym plan may have on the viability of the stadium pool and fitness facility remains to be seen.

The scrutiny committee, set up to look into ways of reducing the Yearsley subsidy, will have to be reconstituted if it is to continue. Several of its original members were not re-elected at the recent Council elections.

The coalition agreement, on the policies that will be pursued by the Council during the next 4 years, guarantees the future of the Yearsley Pool.

Archaeological work could delay key projects – Theatre Royal and Community Stadium face delays

Archaeologists have found remains of significance during the York Theatre Royal refurbishment. It means that  the reopening of the Theatre will be delayed.

The annual pantomime (DickWhittington and his Meerkat!) is being moved to the Railway Museum (click)

Another major dig is taking place at the site of the planned new Community Stadium.

Outline of roman camp revealed

Outline of roman camp revealed

There is likely to be some concern about what impact this work will have on the practical start date for the construction of the stadium.

The project is already 2 years behind schedule.

At Huntington, archaeologists know broadly what they are likely to find. A roman “training” camp was revealed a few years ago – by chance – during a routine aerial survey of the area. Its existence had been unknown when the original stadium was built. While some artifacts may be unearthed it seems unlikely that the dig will overrun its 4 week timetable.

Updates on the work can be found by clicking here

The decision notice on the planning application is not due to issued until July and confirmation of contractors will not be possible until then in any event.

The open day for potential sub contractors will take place on 1st June (see below).

Meet the buyer event

Meet the buyer event

We expect an early statement from the new York Council about the Knights Rugby Team and their re-engagement with the project.

How quickly it becomes clear, whether the promised July 2016 stadium completion date will be met, remains to be seen.

Projects of this scale would normally take at least 18 months to construct, fit out and pass through various accreditation processes.

Council seeks local contractors for Community Stadium work as planning permission notice still awaited.

Are you interested in supplying services for the York Community Stadium build?

With the planning decision notice still awaiting the attention of the new Local Government Minister, the York Council has decide to look for local sub contractors for some of the stadium build work

Community Stadium Nov 2014

Local construction businesses who are interested in supplying products and services required for the building of the York Community Stadium and Leisure Complex scheme are being invited to attend a ‘Meet the Buyer’ event.

City of York Council, in partnership with ISG, are hosting the event on Monday 1 June at the council’s West Offices between 10am -3pm.

ISG are the preferred construction partner for the stadium development as part of the successful consortium bid led by Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL).

Attendees will benefit from hearing more about ISG’s supply chain standards, the packages still to be let and funding available for training and apprenticeship recruitment.

Packages include:

Community Stadium planning delay hits swimming pool management

With the official planning decision notice still predictably delayed, the Community Stadium development contract cannot yet be signed.

This means that potential contractor GLL cannot take over the running of leisure facilities like Energise in Acomb.

 GLL were the managers of the Huntington Stadium and the adjacent Waterworld facility, but both closed about 6 months ago.

We understand that staff at the successful Energise leisure centre have been told that a proposed 1st June handover date has now been shelved.

Uncertain future for popular Energise leisure centre

Uncertain future for popular Energise leisure centre

There never seemed any real possibility that the Secretary of State would decide whether or not to call in the Community Stadium plans before the General Election.

 June seemed the earliest likely decision date but even that could be optimistic if the election result is not – as appears likely to be the case – clear cut.

The July 2016 opening date for the stadium continues to look very optimistic.

The project is running over 2 years behind schedule mainly as a result of a decision by some Labour Councillors to privatise all the City’s leisure facilities into one contract.

This led to the closure of Waterworld and a threat to future of the Yearsley Pool.

It also added £8 million to the taxpayers bill for the project.

York Community Stadium clears another hurdle… survey boost for Knights fans

The York Planning Committee has today approved the latest plans to build a Community Stadium at Huntington.

The decision comes 5 years after an agreement was reached on how a new stadium could be funded.

Community Stadium Nov 2014

The decision was expected following a recommendation for Council officials that the plans should be approved. Outline planning permission had been granted in 2012 and the full Council had, last October, accepted a new financial package which included the provision of more retail floor-space.

The new plans did, however, lead to the closure of Waterworld with the future of the Yearsley pool also placed in jeopardy.

There were surprisingly few objections from other retailers to the new plans while concerns about traffic and parking arrangements were also muted.

The plans will now be put to the Secretary of State. He could decide to “call in” the plans. With the present Parliament due to be dissolved on Monday prior to the General Election, it is likely to be June before any decision on the referral is made.

History may record that the most difficult times for the project have yet to come.

A deal with rugby is essential if the stadium asset is to be fully exploited (and business plan income achieved). There were also some awkward conditions imposed in the original planning application which have yet to be satisfied.

A solution to the Yearsley pool issue will be one of the first issues on the new Councils agenda when it too meets for the first time in June.

Then there is the ambitious 12 month building timetable. As we have said before, we doubt if a stadium could be completed for the start of the 2016 football season; but we hope we are proved to be wrong.

The less complicated project plan – agreed 5 years ago – would have been implemented by now.

We would have a stadium with both football and rugby being played there.

It remains to be seen whether the delays have been worthwhile.

Boost for Knights

York Knights

In a survey undertaken by Liberal Democrats on thee west of the City residents were asked whether they agreed with following statement

” The Council should ensure that the Knights rugby team are able play matches at the new community stadium”

  • 70% agreed
  • 10% disagreed
  • 20% were undecided.

Bid for all party support for York Community Stadium

With the planning application for the new Community Stadium held up as highways issues are reviewed, the York Council will today decide to set up an all party monitoring group for the project.

Community Stadium Nov 2014

Such a group was in place until 2011, after which the newly elected Labour Council decided to take project decisions behind closed doors.

The result was a two year delay in moving things forward with the complication of adding City-wide  swimming and indoor sport management responsibilities into the contract.

One consequence was the closure of Waterworld and an emerging threat to the future of the Yearsley swimming pool.

The war between the Councils Labour Leadership and the Knights Rugby Club continues with both sides now engaged in a “mentoring” process.

A “call in” of the planning application by the Highways Agency is adding to the delays with even the most optimistic supporter now doubting whether the stadium could open as promised in July 2016.

The establishment of the all party group is a welcome step forward and should help to sustain the project over the “all out” Council elections, due on May 7th. The make up of the monitoring group would be:

  • 1 x Labour
  • 1 x Conservative Group (Councillor Steward)
  • 1 x Liberal Democrat Group (Councillor Ayre)
  • 1 x Green Group (Councillor Taylor)
  • 1 x Labour Independent
  • 1 x Independent
  • 1 place for a Ward Councillor (Councillor Orrell – Huntington & New Earswick)

Builder for new York Community stadium announced

Completion date slips to “Autumn 2016”

An article in “Construction Enquirier” has claimed that the new Community Stadium will be built by ISG.  

Community Stadium Nov 2014

ISG is a Yorkshire based company.

The article claims that the stadium will be completed in “Autumn 2016”.

That conflicts with the July 2016 occupation date previously publicised by the York Council and means that the football club may not be able to move home until the 2017/18 season.

The delays will come as no surprise to the many commentators who have queried the 15 month construction timetable.

The scheme has yet to get planning permission while the future of the Knights Rugby team is under question following a very public disagreement between a senior Council official and the Knights chairman.

The Enquirer article reads;

ISG has been confirmed as the preferred construction partner for the £41m York Community Stadium and Leisure Complex scheme.

ISG will be part of the successful consortium bid by Greenwich Leisure Ltd to build a new home stadium for York’s professional football and rugby teams including leisure, retail, office and community facilities.

The new 8,000 all-seater stadium will include hospitality and conferencing facilities, a new 25m six-lane swimming pool, fitness and active play facilities and a community hub.

Work is expected to start on site this summer with completion scheduled for autumn 2016.

ISG is believed to have beaten rivals Carillion and Barr to the deal.

Danny Murray, ISG’s Northern regional managing director, said: “Our involvement in the York Community Stadium project extends back to 2012 and we have worked closely with GLL and our consortium partners to bring the vision for this keynote regional leisure scheme to reality.

“ISG has exceptionally strong leisure sector credentials, delivering iconic sporting venues like the Olympic Velodrome and the National Football Development Centre in Newport, and we are looking forward to working with our consortium partners to create superb new facilities for York.”



Latest Planning applications

Community Stadium (Huntington), British Sugar (Plantation Drive) and Boyes (Acomb) applications now on line (click links below)

No planning applications were received by the York Council for the Dringhouses and Woodthorpe ward last week.  However several other major applications are no available for examination on line.

Full details can be found by clicking the application reference


Location:       British Sugar Corporation Ltd Plantation Drive York YO26 6XF

Proposal:       Outline application for the development of the site comprising up to 1,100 residential units, community uses (D1/D2) and new public open space with details of access (to include new access points at Millfield Lane and Boroughbridge Road and a new link road, crossing the Former Manor School Site) and demolition of the Former Manor School buildings

Ref No: 14/02789/OUTM

Applicant:      British Sugar   Contact:        Mr Neil Jones   Consultation Expiry Date:       14 January 2015 Case Officer:   Jonathan Kenyon Expected Decision Level:        COMP


Location:       British Sugar Corporation Ltd Plantation Drive York YO26 6XF

Proposal:       Construction of development platform, engineering works and remediation and reclamation of site

Ref No: 14/02798/FULM

Applicant:      British Sugar   Contact:        Mr Neil Jones   Consultation Expiry Date:       14 January 2015 Case Officer:   Jonathan Kenyon Expected Decision Level:        COMP


Location:       11 Front Street York YO24 3BW

Proposal:       Internal and external alterations to facilitate the conversion of 4no. retail units to 1no. retail unit

Ref No: 14/02840/FUL

Applicant:      W Boyes & Co Ltd        Contact R Peter Belt    Consultation Expiry Date        12 January 2015 Case Officer:   Victoria Bell   Expected Decision Level DEL


Community Stadium

In addition the planning application for the new Community Stadium at Huntington has also now been published

Location:       Huntington Stadium Jockey Lane Huntington York YO32 9JS

Proposal:       Erection of 8,000 seat Community Stadium, leisure centre, multi-screen cinema, retail units, outdoor football pitches, community facilities and other ancillary uses, together with associated vehicular access, car parking, public realm, and hard and soft landscaping following demolition of existing structures

Ref No: 14/02933/FULM

Applicant:      Wrenbridge Sport York Limited And GLL   Contact Mr Daniel Brown Consultation Expiry Date        21 January 2015 Case Officer:   Kevin O’Connell Expected Decision Level COMP


Representations can be made in favour of, or in objection to, any application via the Planning on line web site.

NB. The Council now no longer routinely consults neighbours by letter when an application is received.

York Community Stadium local consultation dates announced.

Continuing concern over tight timetableCommunity Stadium Nov 2014

We understand that consultation meetings, involving local residents, about the design of the Community Stadium complex has been scheduled.

A series of public exhibitions will be held to give the community the opportunity to view the plans and provide feedback.

The events will be held on:

  • Friday 28 November at Orchard Park Community Centre, Badger Paddock, York, YO31 9EH between 2.30pm and 7pm and on
  • Saturday 29 November at City of York Council Offices, Station Rise, York, YO1 6GA between 10am and 4pm.

The exhibitions will be run as drop-in events and people are free to attend when convenient to them.

More details are available on this Facebook site

Clearly the project is still some way from the point where a detailed planning application can be submitted.

There are also continuing concerns about the source of the £12 million commercial investment needed to make the project financially viable

The planned opening date for the Stadium (July 2016) still looks to be optimistic.

The project is currently running 2 years behind the schedule agreed in 2010.