York Stadium: Council seeks damages from builders for costly delays

The latest figures show the cost of the new community stadium project has risen to more than £47 million – and the council is seeking financial damages from the builders for delays to the scheme.

The community stadium opened in December 2020, but was originally due to be finished in 2012.

Building work did not start until the end of 2017 – and took 20 months longer than scheduled.

A City of York Council report says: “Unfortunately, the building contractor’s works lasted in total 36 months.

“The building contractor delays are the subject of ongoing commercially sensitive contractual disputes.

“With this in mind, the council are seeking financial damages to the building contractor delays through the DBOM (design, build, operate and maintain) contract with GLL [the organisation that runs the leisure facilities].

“At this time, the council is still awaiting full claim details from GLL, and their building contractor, in order to make a full and thorough assessment.”

Large overspend

The Community Stadium sign that used to be on Jockey Lane in Huntington

According to the latest council report into the stadium, the project is £1.2 million over budget.

It says the costs stem from delays to the opening of the complex and from changes to the project – including extra signs, problems with the boundaries of the site and the price of cladding.

Legal fees and the cost of keeping staff on for more than a year longer than anticipated have also added to the bill.

The report says: “Firstly the delay in the opening of the facility has added internal costs that were not originally budgeted.

“The facility was originally due to open in Summer 2019 so the council has needed to retain the project team. The delays in themselves and the Covid outbreak has resulted in additional legal fees as this has introduced additional complex contractual issues.

“Secondly there have been some additional costs incurred in the build project.

“As with any major development through its build phase it is natural that some design changes may be required to ensure the end development is fit for users. The [stadium] has been no different, with partner and council changes being instructed through the build phase, only where absolutely necessary.”

The council is looking to pay off the extra costs using money expected from letting out units at the stadium. But last year the council revealed three restaurant units were not yet rented out due to lack of demand – despite them being marketed since 2017.

A spokesperson for the council said they are unable to comment on confidential processes.

The first game at the LNER Community Stadium is now due to take place on Tuesday night (16 February) when York City host AFC Fylde.