I am deeply unhappy at the decision to close the Don Valley Stadium.
It was conceived in the Blunkett era as an attempt to regenerate the Attercliffe area as Sheffield’s heavy industries closed down. The results of this regeneration, over 20 years on, are there for us all to see. My verdict is that the regeneration as a whole has been pretty successful.
Central and ever present has been Don Valley Stadium, with its modern and economical architectural style, its accessibility and facilities.
I have watched a few major events there, but what stands out for me was watching my wife and daughters take part in Race for Life and my own participation in the Sheffield Half Marathon.
These events have usually begun and ended in the stadium, allowing thousands the experience of running down a home straight in an international arena to a cheering crowd.
Inspiration. That is what Don Valley has given me. The original decision to build the stadium was inspirational even if somewhat flawed.
The decision to close Don Valley lacks ambition and reeks of bureaucratic mediocrity. It is fundamentally wrong.
What legacy does this group of councillors wish to leave for their children? Has the decision got something to do with an ingrained aversion to elitism? Athletics is by definition, for the elite. Jess Ennis is part of the elite. As I have shown, such views are nonsense. Thousands of Sheffield people have done great things with Don Valley as their backdrop.
Closing Don Valley saves £700,000 per year, money that could be used in beleaguered schools and social services, but to achieve what?
A legacy of a neglected Woodbourne Road stadium and a piddly pot of money to be earmarked for future budget cuts.
Saving Don Valley would cost the citizens of Sheffield a few pounds each per year.
Come on people of Sheffield, lead your leaders. Tell them that they are shortsighted and wrong. Tell them that this decision will not solve a financial problem, it will perpetuate the continued underperformance of us all into the next generation.
Steve Pagden, Meersbrook