Sheffield could become home to a ‘Silicon Valley of sports’

Former Sports Minister, the Rt. Hon. Richard Caborn, details the Olympic Legacy Park proposals at the English Institute of Sport.
Former Sports Minister, the Rt. Hon. Richard Caborn, details the Olympic Legacy Park proposals at the English Institute of Sport.
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Sheffield could become home to a ‘Silicon Valley of sports’ after details of a £55 million Olympic Legacy park were unveiled.

Plans have been revealed for a new 1,200 pupil-capacity ‘super school’ for children aged two to 16, a rugby stadium and basketball arena on the former site of the Don Valley Stadium.

Olympic Legacy Park: Former Sports Minister, the Rt. Hon. Richard Caborn (right), is pictured with Sheffield Sharks' chair Yuri Matischen (left) and Sheffield Eagles' coach and chief executive Mark Ashton on top the podium at the English Instiutute of Sport.

Olympic Legacy Park: Former Sports Minister, the Rt. Hon. Richard Caborn (right), is pictured with Sheffield Sharks' chair Yuri Matischen (left) and Sheffield Eagles' coach and chief executive Mark Ashton on top the podium at the English Instiutute of Sport.

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A new university technical college and a science research centre as well as a hotel will all be housed on the site.

Former sports minister Richard Caborn, the driving force behind the scheme, said: “We are rewriting the next chapter in the book of sport for Sheffield.

“We think this can be the Silicon Valley of sport. This is Sheffield at its best.”

He said the scheme is set to cost ‘£50 to £55 million’ to deliver.

A new ‘indoor community arena’ will house Sheffield Sharks basketball team, while also serving as a building for sport, culture and business. It will have three full-size courts and seat up to 3,000 people.

Sheffield Eagles will move into a new community stadium featuring a synthetic pitch, a main stand seating 2,500 people and a 50-bedroom hotel with catering and hospitality areas, as well as facilities developed in partnership with Sheffield’s second University Technical College.

A new Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre will be home to about 50 researchers investigating physical activity.

The park is a joint venture between Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, Sheffield Council and the private sector, while Sheffield University and The Sheffield College are also involved.

The school is set to be open by September 2015, while Sheffield Eagles rugby league team will begin playing at the site from March 2016. The college is due to open in September 2016.

About £40 million for the park has already been funded, including £17m for the school and £10m from the Eagles and Sharks.

Mr Caborn said: “We will deliver a multi-sports community stadium which can accommodate professional sports and will wash its face financially.

“People will be proud of what we have done, but I also think they will benefit from the wealth creation from it as well. There are going to be 2,000 young people there every day. It is going to become a living entity, part of this valley.”

Don Valley Stadium, a 25,000-seater athletics stadium, was closed last year and demolished earlier this year after Sheffield Council said it was too expensive to run – despite a petition of more than 5,500 people calling for it to be saved.