Council confirm Don Valley Stadium will close

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Sheffield City Council have officially confirmed that the Don Valley Stadium will close for the final time on September 30.

They also confirmed that the Woodburn Road Stadium will be reopened to coincide with the closure of Don Valley.

Earlier this year the council announced it would be closing the stadium, which they said was running at a loss of £700,000 a year, as part of a £50million cut to their budget from central Government.

Paul Billington, Director for Sports and Sports Service at Sheffield City Council, said at a meeting of the council’s cabinet that the alternative to closing the Don Valley Stadium would be to close several other sports facilities which would affect “ten times as many people”.

The Stadium will remain open until the end of the year to fulfil the programme of events already booked in, before what Mr Billington said he hoped would be a “seamless” transfer to Woodburn Road.

“The facilities at Woodburn Road are as good, if not better than at Don Valley Stadium, and from consultation with athletics clubs, many view it as a less intimidating stadium,” said Mr Billington.

Isobel Bowler, Cabinet Member for Culture, Sport and Leisure, said: “There was a lot of jumping up and down in the national media when it was first announced, but most people understand the proposals and support it.

“The decision to save money on the Don Valley Stadium was a rational and pragmatic one.”

Sheffield Council’s opposition Liberal Democrat group had argued the venue should stay open, at least in the interim, until a new use for the site was confirmed.

Coun Joe Otten, the Lib Dems spokesman for sport and culture, said: “The day Labour councillors voted to close doors on the Don Valley Stadium was a sad day for Sheffield.

“At the same time as declaring the site surplus to requirements, Labour bosses have tried to appease campaigners by announcing ideas for the site.

“But while those plans remain just pipe-dreams, Don Valley stadium should remain open. The council should be fighting to protect Sheffield’s reputation as a city of sport.”

- See The Star tomorrow for more.