Sheffield & South Yorkshire

Don Valley Stadium: 'Olympic legacy' development announced

Plans for the site
Image caption The development has been described as the "biggest Olympic legacy project outside of London"

Plans to redevelop the site of Don Valley Stadium as a £40m "sports and wellbeing park" have been announced.

The Sheffield venue, where Olympic champion Jessica Ennis trains, is to be closed as part of council budget cuts.

The plans include venues for rugby and gymnastics but not athletics, which will move to the smaller Woodbourn Road stadium.

No details of how the proposed development would be funded have been revealed.

Former sports minister Richard Caborn described it as the "biggest Olympic legacy project outside of London".

'Olympic legacy'

Announcing details of the development, Mr Caborn said it had "already received funding to go to the feasibility stage".

The plans, which would mean the demolition of Don Valley Stadium, include new homes for the rugby league and union teams Sheffield Eagles and Titans and venues for basketball, gymnastics and snooker.

The new National Centre for Sport and Exercise Medicine would also be built on the site, as well as a technical college.

Mr Caborn said: "In effect it becomes an advanced sports and wellbeing park giving a comprehensive delivery of the Olympic legacy that we promised in Singapore in 2005."

Sheffield City Council leader, Labour councillor Julie Dore, said no council funding would be available for the project.

Image caption Don Valley stadium is due to close in September

She said: "We are determined to find a solution for Sheffield and this is an opportunity to do that but it needs to be sustainable long term."

Sheffield Eagles chief executive Mark Aston said: "It's only a dream, it's not reality at this moment in time but it's moving forward I guess.

"It's got to be costed and who's going to fund all that? We're not building our hopes up... but we're the city of sport and we want to develop that."

'Huge shame'

On 1 March, the local authority confirmed Don Valley would close in September, as part of £50m budget cuts.

The authority said it spent £700,000 subsidising the venue last year, and it requires major repair and maintenance work at a cost of £1.6m.

Don Valley Stadium was opened in 1991 for the World Student Games in Sheffield at a cost of £29m.

Plans have already been announced to reopen the smaller Woodbourn Road stadium as a new home for athletics in Sheffield.

It was closed in 2011 and the council has estimated the cost of refurbishing the stadium will be £150,000, with a £70,000 a year running cost.

Jessica Ennis said the closure of Don Valley was a "huge shame", but pledged her support to the plans for Woodbourn Road:

"It needs a lot of work doing to it, but if we get the funding to do it, it will be good," she said.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites