Readers vote to retain Sheffield’s Don Valley Stadium

Doomed: Sheffield's Don Valley Stadium
Doomed: Sheffield's Don Valley Stadium
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STAR readers have voted by a margin of more than three to one against Sheffield Council’s decision to close Don Valley Stadium.

In an online poll answered by almost 700 people so far, 523, or 78 per cent, said the venue should be kept open. Just 150 people, or 22 per cent, backed the council.

Sheffield Council claims that closing the venue is necessary to save the £700,000 subsidy it says the venue costs each year.

But the figure is being disputed as the subsidy was £500,000 only two years ago and around £100,000 of the subsidy is made up of general Sheffield International Venue management costs.

Claims have been made by opposition councillors that the Labour-run authority may have inflated the savings to justify closure and make a ‘political point’ to the Government.

Sheffield Council - which inisists its figures are correct - needs to make £50 million of cuts to its £480 million budget in 2013/14.

Comments made on the website by readers criticised the decision.

Alien Blade said: “The council must surely realise that the “it’s all the government’s fault” line is wearing a little thin, and to even propose closing and demolishing something as iconic as Don Valley Stadium seems a little like political suicide to me!”

Get Blues said: “It would it be a shameful betrayal if we allow the demise of such a crucial asset to be denied to current and future Olympic hopefuls.”

Muzworker added: “Our so-called city of sport is now a laughing stock - but one or two super group concert per year would meet the £700,000 subsidy.”

Jessica Ennis’s coach Tony Minichiello is also opposed to closure of the stadium, which is to be replaced with a revamped Woodbourn athletics track, at a cost of £170,000.

But Mike Corden, chairman of City of Sheffield Athletic Club, called for efforts to now focus on making the planned move to Woodbourn work.

He said: “In September, if Don Valley is not there, my job is to ensure we have a plan so youngsters have a place to train.”

Taha Saleh, director of Darnall Community Action, backed the council and called for the stadium site to be re-used ‘possibly as a new secondary school’.

He said: “lthough I have had my issues with our local councillors, I support them on this decision. We always talk about Jessica Ennis when it comes to Don Valley Stadium. Can somebody name me another famous person who has done well using this facility? The place is empty five days out of seven.

“It’s old and needs alot of money to redevelop. Even Rotherham United FC have now moved so it will be even less used.

“Let’s make Woodbourn Road Stadium a state-of-the-art facility.”

■ Visit epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/44288 to sign an e-petition to save Don Valley Stadium.