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Costs mount for Community Stadium plans

Football News 24/7
MOVES to spend an extra £200,000 on drawing up a business plan for York’s community stadium have been branded “too risky” by a leading councillor. City of York Council’s cabinet will next week be asked to recommend allocating the money so the next stage of a blueprint for the 6,000-seater venue at Monks Cross, which would house York City FC and York City Knights, can be carried out.

It would include architectural and design work, as well as moving forward plans for City of York Athletics Club’s new facilities at the University of York’s Sports Village, with the sum, if approved by the full council, coming from £4 million set aside for the project. So far, £398,000 of public money has been spent on the scheme.

But Coun Ian Gillies, leader of the council’s Conservative group, said the expenditure would be “inappropriate” before the authority decides on Oakgate (Monks Cross) Ltd’s outline planning application for the stadium and a neighbouring retail development, expected next month.

“In these difficult economic times, it is just too risky to spend £200,000 of non-refundable council money to progress this project to the next stage when so many questions remain unanswered,” he said.

“Despite the money already spent, we still haven’t seen a proper business case detailing how the stadium would be financed once it is up and running. As far as I am concerned, the lack of a detailed business case at this point in the stadium’s development is utterly irresponsible.

“One would never expect to see a project of this size and complexity proceed to the detailed design and procurement phases without a sophisticated financial plan filling in all the gaps as to exactly how the stadium is going to be supported once it has been built.”

Coun Sonja Crisp, cabinet member for leisure, culture and social inclusion, said: “The stadium business case is something which needs to be robust. The cabinet is fully committed to ensuring the necessary funding is available so the planning committee is able to take a decision with all the relevant information before it, and the business case requires properly resourcing. Without it, Coun Gillies would likely have no stadium and a loss to the taxpayer of £300,000.”

She also said the proposed £200,000 was “not new money” and had already been allocated for the stadium business case by the council’s previous Liberal Democrat administration.

KT

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