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Wrenbridge Sport’s York Stadium: Cinema plan gets bigger

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Developers behind part of York’s community stadium project have unveiled plans to make the cinema behind the ground bigger.

Wrenbridge Sport York Ltd want to increase the height of the 13-screen complex and increase the number of cinema seats from 2,000 to 2,400.

They say an agreement has been reached in principle with a specific cinema operator, whose requirements “differ slightly” from the specifications that were granted planning permission last May.

It is not yet clear whether the new amendments will lead to further delays in the project, which has been plagued by delays and budget increases.

Wrenbridge has sent a new planning application to City of York Council, seeking permission to vary certain conditions on the development.

In a statement supporting the application, Daniel Brown from planning agency How Planning Ltd, wrote: “With the project having progressed from the planning stage to the detailed design stage, a variety of factors have necessitated the incorporation of a number of minor design amendments to the approved development before construction starts in earnest.

“It is inevitable that any commercial project of this scale will be subject to minor changes following the granting of planning permission.

The total area given over to the cinema complex will increase from 3,691 square metres to 6,571 square metres – an increase of almost 80 per cent. Mr Brown said the vast majority of that increase was so that better facilities could be provided for disabled cinema-goers, and said the seating increase was only 20 per cent.

Wrenbridge also propose variations in the layout of the office and community spaces, although there is no suggestion in the document that spectator capacity will change.

Be Independent and York St John University have pulled out of the project. Wrenbridge propose giving more space to York NHS Trust and less office space to York City FC.

They propose the restaurant in the East Stand being mostly on the ground floor instead of the first floor, as was originally proposed.

The stadium project has been delayed numerous times. Most recently, the city council’s ruling executive was to have been asked to approve the final design, construction, operation and maintenance of the stadium in December, but a key meeting was postponed until March.

Council leader Chris Steward recently met a new supporters group, representing fans from York City FC and York City Knights RLFC, and he said the Conservative and Liberal Democrat council administration had “never for a second deviated from a 100 per cent commitment to the stadium”.

Author: York Press