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Labour raises stadium concerns

Labour is raising serious concerns regarding the Community Stadium project, as progress under the current Conservative-Liberal Democrat administration is delayed yet again.
It follows the news that the next phase of the project – agreeing the commercial contract – has been delayed once again, with a key Executive report slipping from February to March.
This follows a number of delays since the Conservative-Liberal Democrat administration took over in May 2015: first in July – where it was confirmed the stadium would not be open in time for the start of the 16/17 football season – and then again in August – at the same time as York St John University pulled out of the scheme.
Further delays risk the stadium not being open for the 17/18 season, meaning lost revenue for the sports clubs and leaving the Council open to compensation claims.
There are also concerns about continuity of management of the project, with a number of key members of the project team staff having left the Council or having been taken off the project.
There has also been a lack of communication with partners, especially the football club, and meetings of the Stadium Lead Members Group, a committee for lead councillors to monitor the project, have been cancelled.
Councillor Janet Looker, Leader of the Labour Group on City of York Council, said:
“The Community Stadium is an incredibly important project for the city, with the previous Labour administration approving a business case, gaining planning permission for an 8000-seat stadium and securing the partners that made the whole scheme viable.
“Our suspicions are that further delays to the actual development of the stadium will be announced soon, making missing the start of the 17/18 football season increasingly likely.  This would result in significant knock-on costs to both the football and rugby clubs, leaving the Council open to compensation claims. Staff leaving the project and a lack of communication with partners, the public and Councillors is obviously very worrying.
“It is clear there are problems when repeated attempts by the football club over a period of months to gain information on the project have been ignored by the present administration.
“We are calling on the Conservative-Lib Dem Council to urgently address these concerns and confirm that the stadium will be ready for the start of the 2017-18 football season.
Councillor Looker is writing to the council’s Chief Executive to request urgent assurances that the stadium project remains on track to meet this important deadline.

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