York’s first IMAX cinema, sports hall, pools, shops, restaurants and a new stadium… but not till 2018

An artist's impression of the planned stadium and complex, including the cinema. Photograph: City of York Council
9 Mar 2016 @ 2.11 pm
| News
An artist's impression of the new complex, complete with Bue Cinema (wonder if Bity Screen is worried..?) Photograph: City of York Council
An artist’s impression of the new complex, complete with Bue Cinema (wonder if Bity Screen is worried..?) Photograph: City of York Council

York council is hoping to set the troubled York Community Stadium back on track – with a pledge to have the multi-million pound complex completed by winter 2017.

But the two sports clubs which will share the stadium, York City FC and York City Knights, will not be able to play there until the 2018/19 season.

That’s a further delay: the last timetable put the clubs’ playing there by spring next year.

Council leaders pledged a renewed commitment to the stadium at Huntington as a new report into the project was published on Wednesday (March 9).

The price has gone up, from the £37 million approved in September 2014 to £44.2 million today.

Councillors will be asked to approve the project at a meeting on March 17.

So what precisely are the plans? Good question – or questions…

Community stadium – questions and answers

What sports facilities are planned?

The project includes much more than a stadium. This is what is proposed:

  • York Community Stadium – an 8,000 all-seat home for York City FC and York City Knights

  • A sports centre, featuring
    • 25m swimming pool
    • teaching pool
    • leisure fun pool
    • 100 station gym
    • dance studio
    • group cycling studio
    • competition-standard sports hall
    • extreme Clip’n’Climb play centre
    • outdoor high ropes climbing facility
    • 3G astro-turf pitches

What about the cinema, shops and restaurants?

The cinema will consist of 13 screens, a lounge, a bar and the city’s first digital IMAX screen. There will be five restaurants and three shops.

What community facilities are included?

A community hub within the stadium’s East Stand will include:

  • an atrium featuring an Explore Library and café, featuring books, computers, free wi-fi and learning activities
  • an area run by York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, promoting healthy lifestyles
  • a York Against Cancer office, shop and meeting space.

Another view, showing potential restaurants. Photograph: City of York Council
Another view, showing potential restaurants. Photograph: City of York Council

What is the cost?

The project is now set to cost £44.2 million, up from £37 million in the September 2014 budget.

That means an extra £7.2 million needs to be found. The council is looking to borrow a further £5.4 million towards meeting this cost.

Why the increase?

“The overall increase in capital costs is primarily due to construction inflationary pressures and slippage in the overall timetable” – City of York Council

Any other financial changes?

The cost of running the new complex is now set to be a lot less than previously envisaged.

In 2014, the cost of the 13-year leisure contract was put at £5.6 million. This is now reduced to £1.3 million, thanks to “the level of external income that is brought to the project from the sports clubs, community partners and stadium naming rights sponsorship”.

According to external consultants, a sponsored name of the stadium could bring in between £40k and £60k a year.

The council also expects to receive £250k a year in extra business rates.

How match day is envisaged, looking from Vangarde. Photograph: City of York Council
How match day is envisaged, looking from Vangarde. Photograph: City of York Council

How is the £44.2m being paid for?

Good question. Here’s the breakdown:

  • £13.4m from the council (all borrowed)
  • £15.3m contributed by the Vangarde retail development (the Section 106 funding that developers are required to pay)
  • £11.3m from the new commercial developments
  • £1.2m of Section 106 funding from the developments highways contracts
  • £2m from York City FC
  • £1m from the council’s Venture fund

What’s the timetable?

The latest estimate is that the work to build the stadium and associated complex will be finished in the winter of 2017.

But the stadium will only be “operational [in] early 2018, following fit-out and the attainment of the requisite stadium safety certificate licences for the facilities”.

A breakdown in the timings is show in the table below.

End March 2016Early works completed (P&R and demolition)
June 2016Design, Build, Operate and Maintain (DBOM) contract signed
July 1, 2016DBOM contract live. Contractor GLL takes over operation of Energise and Yearsley pool
Summer 2016Construction starts
Winter 2017Construction complete
Early 2018Stadium, community hub and new leisure centre open to public

Anything else?

Yes – the project also covers the operation and maintenance contracts of both Energise Leisure Centre and Yearsley Swimming Pool.

The future of Yearsley pool has been settled – in the short term. It will be funded by up to £300K a year at least until the stadium is operational.

A review into different “operating models for the management of the pool” is now underway, and a report will go to councillors later this year.

Concerned by the delay

Chairman of York City FC Jason McGill welcomed the report. “I’m very optimistic about the report that came out today from the officers regarding the new stadium and leisure complex.

York City chairman Jason McGill
York City chairman Jason McGill
“It comes off the back of a lot of positive messages which have been coming out of the City of York Council over the recent months.

“There are a lot of reasons to be optimistic that the project will be delivered in its current form.”

But he was worried about the new timings:

The one thing which has come out of the report which is of concern to the football club is the delay to the delivery of the project.

Originally we were told we would have access to the stadium at the start of the 2016/2017 season which was then put back to being operational by April/May 2017. This report says that it should now be operational by early 2018.

The football club won’t be moving midseason so as a consequence it looks like we will be playing games at the new stadium for the start of the 2018/19 season.

Obviously let’s get through the meetings on the 17th and 24th March and then we will see the impact of those delays on the football club.

What the council leaders say

Council leader Chris Steward

cllr-chris-steward“We have made clear we are fully committed to delivering the Community Stadium and Leisure Facility project.

“In 2015 significant budget overruns emerged and officers have worked hard to address these.

“Through these proposals we anticipate the site will be completed by winter 2017, which will provide a wide-range of significant benefits for the city, including for the city’s football and rugby league teams.”

Deputy council leader Cllr Keith Aspden

dep-york-council-leader-keith-aspden“These proposals reinforce our commitment to delivering a Community Stadium and leisure facility by winter 2017.

“The community hub is the first of its kind in the city and will provide bespoke facilities for longstanding partners who, alongside York City Knights RLFC and York City Football Club, have worked with us throughout this process to ensure we build the best leisure, sport and health offer for the city.”