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£2m Athletics track set for York Uni

The York Sport Village, based on the University of York’s Heslington East campus, is set to house a new county-standard eight-lane athletics track and a closed road-racing cycle circuit after being recommended for approval when the City of York Council’s planning committee meets next Thursday.

The track is set to be accompanied by a pavilion and a grandstand, although these have not been included in the current planning application.

The plans come as the City of York Athletics Club’s current Huntington Stadium home is to be bulldozed to make way for a 6,000-seat arena, which will be home to both York City Football Club and the York City Knights Rugby League club, and are part of a scheme to build a new community stadium on the edge of the city.

York City Council will fund the athletics base, with the University providing the land.

The report says that the authority’s sport and active leisure team see both the track and the one-kilometre outdoor cycle circuit as “a welcome addition to the community sports facilities in the city.”

“The new track will have eight lanes, rather than the current six at Huntington Stadium, and will have long-jump pits outside the track which will allow throwing events to take place at the same time as jumps,” continues the report.

“The cycling track will allow off-road cycling for beginners, disabled participants and competitions. It has the backing of local cycling clubs and bike providers.”

York Athletics Field Captain, Sara Bianchi Bazzi, told Vision: “We are delighted to hear that we might finally get a new track. Athletics in York really struggles because of the state of the current university track. Our sprinters and field athletes are forced to train at Huntington at the moment and this is obviously time consuming and costly.

“Needles to say then, the club will benefit enormously. At the moment prospective students who are really passionate about athletics may well not choose the University of York because of the lack of a track. Having said this, it looks as though our club is on the up, as we have already received a lot of enquiries from new students.”

Meanwhile, President of University of York Cycling Club, Jess Taylor, said: “We are extremely excited about the possibility of having onsite training facilities and are hoping we will be able to make the most out of the opportunities together with other local clubs.”

The plans follow the opening of the £9m Sports Village in late August, which is home the the University’s first ever swimming pool, as well as a fitness suite and sports pitches.

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