The City of York Council recently announced the appointment of a consortium led by Greenwich Leisure Ltd as the preferred bidder for the delivery of the York Community Stadium and Leisure Complex, which proposes to deliver an 8,000 all-seater stadium as part of what will be a leading leisure destination for the North of England.
Announcing the appointment of the preferred bidder and revealing details of the stadium scheme, Cllr James Alexander, leader of City of York Council, said:
Today’s announcement marks the completion of an 18 month procurement process and represents a significant milestone for the delivery of the York Community Stadium and Leisure Complex. Over the last three years we have made great progress in securing planning and funding, with work to begin in spring 2015. It will provide an 8,000 all-seater brand new home for York City Knights RLFC and York City Football Club, a 2,000-capacity increase from the original 6,000 proposal, with high-quality hospitality and conferencing facilities. It will also offer a replacement swimming pool fit for the 21st century, fitness and active play facilities, as well as a new community hub focused on providing health and wellbeing services for York residents and visitors.
This landmark destination will provide an exciting mix of community and commercial leisure uses for the city, which exceeds our original expectations. The commercial element provides the vast majority of the funding for the extensive community facilities. We are creating a leading family leisure destination in the North of England and are doing so with minimal impact to the public purse by leveraging £5 of commercial investment for every £1 of council spend.
The leisure complex, which will replace the existing Waterworld and Courtney’s Gym complex adjacent to the stadium, will provide a 25-metre, six-lane swimming pool complemented by a separate teaching pool and fun pool with exciting water features for children. The scheme will also provide a brand new sports hall facility for netball, badminton and basketball with spectator viewing for up to 250 people, a new 100-station gym with dance and spinning studios and an extreme adventure sports zone, all under the same roof. There will also be three, 3G five-a-side pitches at the site adding to the impressive leisure offer and helping to support community initiatives and encouraging sport participation for all ages.
Cllr Crisp, Cabinet Member for Leisure, Culture and Tourism, detailed the community focus of the scheme:
The community hub at the complex is the first of its kind in the city and will provide bespoke facilities for longstanding partners to the project, including the York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, York St John University, Be Independent (CIC) and Explore York Libraries and Archives Ltd. They, 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.
The York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust will use space in the stadium for the provision of services such as training, development and administration, whilst the Explore Library will provide a new look facility within the open plan hub area. The York St John University Institute of Community Sport and Wellbeing will provide a programme of activity to promote sport, activity, health, education and wellbeing. An independent Living Assessment Centre will provide face to face advice to enable disabled or elderly people to carry on living independently in their home.
Chris Symons, Director of Development for GLL, said:
We are delighted to have been selected as the preferred bidder for the Community Stadium and Leisure Complex in York. The plans for the new stadium, leisure centre and community hub, are truly ground breaking and represent a unique scheme that is sure to become a flagship project regionally as well as nationally.
As a charitable social enterprise and the UK’s largest leisure centre operator, GLL currently operates more than 140 public leisure centres across England and Wales. Our 20 years of experience, coupled with our status as a ‘not for profit’, means that we have both the operational skills and community focus to enable us to successfully operate these high quality facilities for the benefit of the entire community.
Our focus at GLL is to help more people, get more active, more often, and the inclusion of partners such as York City FC, NHS Hospital Trust, Library services, and York St John, allows us to develop world class facilities that will thrive at the heart of the city. Not just for sport and activity, but for health and education too.
The scheme also includes a £2m associated county standard athletics track being built at Heslington West campus at the University of York, to be completed this year, which will be home to the City of York Athletics Club. This will include a sand dressed artificial hockey and football pitch, grass infield to track suitable for both athletics field and football, a 500-capacity viewing stand, a club house and changing facilities for community use.
A paper will be taken to the council’s Cabinet on 9 September (published on 1 September) updating Members of the progress and seeking approval to proceed.
Construction is expected to start in spring 2015 and facilities will be operational by August/September 2016.
Further information on the scheme will be made available on the York Community Stadium website: http://www.yorkcommunitystadium.co.uk/ on September 1, 2014.