City councillors have approved plans for a £3.5m sports arena at Sheffield’s Olympic Legacy Park.
The Park Community Arena will be the new home of the Sheffield Sharks basketball team in the large development on Attercliffe Common.
At a meeting today (Tuesday, March 15), councillors also granted outline planning permission for the Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre (AWRC), 3G sports pitch, the park’s public realm and three private sector opportunities for businesses to invest and be a part of a world-class centre of excellence.
Designed to complement the existing sporting facilities on the OLP, including the English Institute of Sport Sheffield and iceSheffield, the multi-purpose Park Community Arena will have three courts, seating for up to 2,500 spectators and a study support centre run by the Sharks.
It will provide flexible sports facilities and event spaces for the Sheffield community as well as those based at the AWRC, UTC Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park and Oasis Academy Don Valley.
Sheffield Sharks head coach Atiba Lyons said: “This heralds a bright new future for the Sheffield Sharks and a sport that has been based in the city for many years and one which has been hugely successful at men’s, women’s and junior level.
“The Park Community Arena will provide a fantastic home for the Sheffield Sharks and all forms of basketball from junior to senior level and will be a great boost for the city.”
The arena should be built this autumn. Project director Gerry Montgomery said: “This has been a project in the making for more than two and half years and will bring further affordable and sustainable community facilities into the Attercliffe area. We hope it will stimulate a new type of building that community clubs and groups can genuinely sustain.”
The arena will also act as the new headquarters for Sheffield events procurement and delivery company, MLS Contracts Ltd. Managing director Yuri Matischen said: “Park Community Arena will provide MLS and the Sheffield Sharks with a fantastic new, permanent home to assist in the development of more and bigger events for the city working in partnership with SIV.”
The 35-acre Olympic Legacy Park is the biggest London 2012 legacy project of its kind in Europe. It is a joint venture between Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Sheffield City Council, who hope the park will become an internationally-recognised centre for health, wellbeing and innovation.
Former Minister of Sport and Sheffield Central MP Richard Caborn was the project lead for the Olympic Legacy Park. He said: “This planning approval represents another major step forward for the Olympic Legacy Park in what is set to be a hugely exciting year for the project.
“The Oasis Academy is thriving with its first 120 children and, over the next 12 months, we will start to see students through the doors at the fantastic UTC Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park campus, which is becoming very real as building work progresses ahead of the September opening.
“The 3G sports pitch will be laid for the community to benefit from and ready for the Sheffield Eagles to play at the Olympic Legacy Park next season. We expect work to start on the Park Community Arena this autumn. Work will also start on the AWRC and the public realm will begin to take shape, which will include the repositioning of The Flame within the heart of the park.
“The Olympic Legacy Park is already a Sheffield success story and as the project progresses we expect it to bring further health and wellbeing benefits and economic impact to the city.”