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:

York Community Stadium not “called in”

It looks like a final decision on the York Community Stadium planning applications will be issued in early July. 

Community Stadium Nov 2014

It has been announced today that the new Secretary of State will not call in the planning application for the York Community Stadium and Leisure Complex Scheme.

The decision made by the Planning Committee on Friday 27 March 2015 with 16 votes in favour and one abstention, can now be confirmed. The decision to grant planning consent was subject to the Secretary of State’s approval.

This normally takes up to four weeks but, in this case, the Secretary of State wrote to the council stating that an extension was required.

Once the decision notice is issued, a Judicial Review period begins that lasts for six weeks.

After this period has passed, the stadium project can progress contracts and other commercial matters to be finalised prior to the commencement of construction.

The development encompasses a new 8,000 seat stadium, leisure and community complex in Huntington.

The site has today been handed over to York Archaeological Trust to begin a community excavation, involving local schools and residents.

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:

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.

“Good night” Knights?…. as St John’s College submits multi million pound sports ground plan for Haxby Road


York St John College has submitted a planning application which would see the construction of a sports hall with associated changing, teaching and social facilities following demolition of the pavilion at the Mille Crux Sport Park.

Master plan for Haxby Road sports centre

Master plan for Haxby Road sports centre

The sports hall will be the equivalent in size to 5 badminton courts and will incorporate changing rooms, a “strength and conditioning” suit, flexible teaching space and catering facilities.

The proposal is the third part of the development of the sports park on the 24 hectare site on Haxby Road

It was granted planning permission 2 years ago

Full details of the current application can be found by clicking here

Ironically both the planning applications make mention of the York Knight RFL side saying that they are users of the facility.

There were indeed high hopes of a link up in 2013 as part of the Community Stadium deal but that relationship seems to have gone sour.

The York Council is apparently refusing to talk to the Knights owner following an acrimonious legal wrangle which ended a couple of months ago.

The Knights in turn are saying that they want a guarantee of being able to play games at Bootham Crescent until the new Community Stadium is completed.

Given that the Community Stadium project is already 2 years behind the schedule agreed in 2010 that may not be an unreasonable request.

It is about time that both

Stadium will cost Council Taxpayers £1 million a year

Huntington project administration costs hit £6 million

More details of the changes to the Huntington Community Stadium project have emerged. The papers reveal the administration and project team costs for the project have increased from £3.5 million to £6 million.Stadium Project

The Council will borrow a total of £8 million, meaning that local taxpayers will have to find £720,000 a year in debt charges. In addition the Council will contribute £323,000 towards the annual running costs.

The report talks about a developer paying £12 million for land on which to construct 6000 square metres of retail and commercial space.

This space would be used for

  • Retail units totalling 4245 sq m
  • Two restaurants totalling 110 sq m
  • A digital cinema with bar totalling 1652 sq m

There are numerous risks identified for the project.

The land was originally acquired by the Ryedale Council for leisure purposes. There may be at least a chance that the original owners will seek a share of any enhanced value resulting from commercial development.

Equally the inclusion of – yet more – out of City centre retail development will be controversial.

This is the issue most likely to delay the granting of planning permission and could result in the application being “called in” by central government. In turn, this would impact on the target start (April 2015) and completion (July 2016) dates.

The Council don’t rule out a Judicial Review – a process initiated by opponents of change and which added, in the last decade, nearly 2 years to the timetable for modernising the Barbican auditorium.

A 15 month construction commissioning timetable looks highly ambitious anyway.

Less obvious risks may arise. Not least the ubiquitous Great Crested Newts who mounted a strong resistance to being evicted from the neighbouring John Lewis site.

The report confirms that

GLL will be responsible for the overall management of the site and the direct management of the Community Hub, leisure facilities and associated assets. This will be controlled by an overarching lease and management contract for a 13 year period with a 5 year extension option.

As part of the procurement process, GLL have appointed York City Football Club (YCFC) as a sub-contractor to operate the stadium area. YCFC will work with CGC (York Racecourse hospitality company).

The proposal will involve changes to the existing parking and access arrangements. This will see the re-routing of Kathryn Avenue around the stadium, creating a pedestrian only and fan zone, strengthening links with the Vanguard retail scheme

The report also says that “All community hub tenants will enter into lease agreements with CYC for the use of the facilities. All leases have been set at appropriate commercial rates”.

The report includes a table showing how costs have increased over the last couple of years

Component Approved March 2012(£Ms) Approved Nov 2012(£Ms) Proposed Sept 2014(£Ms)
Community Stadium 14.2 14.8 16
Leisure Complex 0 0 12
External works 1.5 1.45 3
NSLC sub total 15.7 15.25 31
Other facilities / Project costs & contingencies 3.5 3.95 6
Total 19.2 19.2 37
Commercial Development Costs (externally funded) 10
Gross Total Cost 19.2 19.2 47

Knavesmire sports pavilion slips 12 months……..Community Stadium update

New pavilion design

New pavilion design

The ambitious plans to provide a replacement pavilion on the little Knavesmire for the Hamilton Panthers football team looks like being delayed.

The York Council has set aside £350,000 to part fund the £600,000 project. But it seems that funding from Sport England has been delayed.

The project which will see a new clubhouse and changing rooms built on the site of an old ROC World War II building was given planning permission in 2012.

At that time it was hoped that the new facility would be available for use in early 2014, but this now seems unlikely


The Council is also saying that the new Community Stadium – which will be built on the site of the existing Huntington Stadium – will cost £1.85 million this year.

The total cost is now put at £18.6 million

It is unclear how the council intends to recover it’s investment (now thought to be around £4 million) or whether it includes the capitalised salaries of those who are working on the project.

It is understood that formal bids for the construction of the stadium will be considered in January, with the hope that construction will be completed in 2016.

The project is running 2 years behind schedule.