Developer hope for Sheffield park project

Richard Caborn speaking at the EIS sheffield     Picture Chris Lawton    12/03/13
Richard Caborn speaking at the EIS sheffield Picture Chris Lawton 12/03/13
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Companies are being sought to help turn Sheffield’s Don Valley Stadium into the ‘ biggest Olympic legacy project outside London’.

The £29 million stadium – training ground of Sheffield’s London 2012 Olympic heptathlon champion Jessica Ennis-Hill – is due to close at the end of September as Sheffield Council aims to save money.

Plans to turn it into an ‘advanced park for sports and wellbeing’ were announced in March. The council is now seeking developer partners for it.

Coun Julie Dore, council leader, said: “We expect to see strong interest in redeveloping the site and some strong proposals that will help us to achieve a quality transformation of this strategic sporting site over the coming years.

“These are ambitious plans to help us create a culture of health and wellbeing for local people.

“The development would support our aim of helping everyone keep active and stay healthy.”

Estimates suggest the park could cost about £40m to build.

The council said the idea is the ‘lead opportunity for the site’, but other development solutions were not excluded – the council last week revealed plans for a new ‘through’ primary and secondary school at site.

Former sports minister and Sheffield Central MP Richard Caborn, who first publicised the idea of the sports and wellbeing scheme, said the council, both city universities, Sheffield College and other organisations had been working together to secure a future for the stadium site.

He described it as the ‘biggest Olympic legacy project outside London, with the potential to create hundreds of jobs.’

Mr Caborn said: “We are looking for expressions of interest in the site from partners seeking to build on the ideas which have emerged locally and attracted considerable interest.

“This is an economic wealth generation project which could take the stadium site from being under utilised to becoming an economic driver for the Sheffield city region.”