Roads agency enters fray over city’s stadium development plans

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A PROTRACTED battle to build a multi-million pound sports stadium and retail development in York has been hit by another delay after concerns were raised over the impact on the city’s notoriously congested roads.

Developers behind the plans for the new £90m shopping centre and 6,000-seater stadium on the outskirts of York have faced staunch opposition amid fears the scheme will see a slump in city centre trade.

The Highways Agency has now written to York Council about “outstanding matters” over how the development at Monks Cross will affect the roads network. A six-month holding notice has been issued by the Agency, which means a decision could now be pushed back until the autumn.

Both York Council and developers from Oakgate (Monks Cross) Ltd claimed the highways issues will hopefully be resolved within weeks. But the Yorkshire Post understands a decision by the council’s planning committee on the development will not be heard until May at the earliest. A planning application submitted by Oakgate in September had been due to be considered this month.

The council’s director of city strategy and deputy chief executive, Bill Woolley, claimed a holding notice is “standard practice” when dealing with complex applications.

He added: “It is important to remember that this is a holding notice, not an objection to the scheme. The notice is for up to a six-month period and can be lifted by the Highways Agency at any point prior to this, when they are satisfied that all matters have been addressed.”

Oakgate’s planning consultant, Richard Woodford, maintained every effort is being made to ensure there is “minimal impact” on the roads network.

The council’s cabinet member for city strategy, Councillor Dave Merrett, admitted the delay is “disappointing” but added: “I am hopeful progress will be made soon to resolve the issues so we can progress with the application.”

The new stadium is earmarked for the site of the existing York City Knights Rugby League ground. It would provide a new home for the rugby side as well as York City Football Club.

The shopping centre could including John Lewis and Marks and Spencer stores.