Opinion: Dereliction of City of Sport

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The pictures in The Star today from the derelict Sheffield Ski Village in some ways speak for themselves.

Dirty, decrepit and downtrodden, the Parkwood Springs site is in such a state of disrepair that it’s very difficult to imagine its better days when people flocked from far and wide to enjoy the best artificial slopes in Europe.

As a private business venture it had its boom period and then a very public bust, which reached its nadir with the torching of the premises in April 2012.

Indoor snow domes began taking business away from the outdoor Ski Village and tentative plans to develop the site along the Upper Don Valley never came to fruition.

In five months the world’s biggest annual sporting event will arrive on the city’s streets. But what will followers of the Tour de France find when they get here?

First of all they’ll be struck by the warmth and the welcome of the Sheffield people. We challenge anywhere on the Tour’s route to match that!

But they will also see two of the city’s most ambitious and iconic projects in ruins.

The Tour’s Stage Two route on July 6 from York to Sheffield passes relatively close to the Ski Village and will have its finish line just short of what will be a demolished Don Valley Stadium.

For a city that has prided and reinvented itself as a ‘City of Sport’ this will be embarrassing.

Of course with two such large areas of land available there are whispers of what may come next. However, for the foreseeable future nothing will change.

Everyone realises that businesses can succeed and fail. The Ski Village and Don Valley have suffered due to not making enough money.

What is less understandable is that there has been no ‘Plan B’.

Where are the investors? Where are the ideas? Why isn’t the city knocking on doors to try and redevelop these areas?

Maybe they are, but as both remain derelict it could be too little too late.