School plans for Sheffield’s Don Valley stadium site

Fighting to save Don Valley Stadium are comminity coach Rob Creasey, (left), coach Lewis Samuel (front, centre)), with Becky Lyne and Dimitry White.
Fighting to save Don Valley Stadium are comminity coach Rob Creasey, (left), coach Lewis Samuel (front, centre)), with Becky Lyne and Dimitry White.
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Plans to build a school and college on the site of Don Valley Stadium threaten a last-ditch attempt to save the venue from closure.

Sheffield Council has until September 25 to approve or reject a Community Asset Transfer bid from a campaign group headed by former athlete Lewis Samuel.

But city bosses have also confirmed there are proposals for a new school for pupils aged two to 16, and a University Technical College on the site, though to date no planning application has been submitted.

The council is also advertising an ‘opportunity’ for developers to transform the stadium into an ‘advanced park for sport and wellbeing’ via the website Don Valley Marketing.

Despite the uncertainty over the council’s plans for the land, former 400m runner Mr Samuel and the Save Don Valley Stadium group believe they are still in with a chance of taking it over.

He said: “We’ve had meetings with the council and they’ve been co-operative, telling us all the facts and figures. It is a massive task as it’s over 25 years old, but we were expecting that.

“We’re trying to break down all the costs, look at staffing and how much sports clubs paid to use it.”

If the Community Asset bid is successful, campaigners will have six months to produce a business plan.

Coun Isobel Bowler, Sheffield Council cabinet member for sport and leisure, said: “Despite our best efforts - both ourselves and Sheffield International Venues - for more use of the stadium, there was always a huge gap in the income we could generate and operating costs.

“The stadium is old and needs £1.6m capital investment from 2014. While we could afford to subsidise the stadium, we did, but that’s no longer the case. And if there had been a private investor that had come forward, that would have meant no public subsidy was needed, we would have considered this.

“Woodbourn Stadium will re-open in October and fully meet the needs of the city’s athletics.”