Sheffield set for massive £250m Olympic legacy development boost
Sheffield is set for a £250m boost and more than 5,000 jobs in ambitious plans to transform the Olympic Legacy Park with a new stadium, arena, office blocks and child health technology centre.
Some £100m will be spent over the next two years on projects including a £20m diagnostic imagery research hub, to increase the speed and accuracy of diagnostics for the NHS. Some £10m is from Government with £5m each from Canon Medical Systems Europe and Philips.
It will be based in a new £5m Park Community Arena which will have three basketball courts and become the new home of Sheffield Sharks basketball team.
Over the next five years, £150m will be spent on offices, a conference centre and a hotel arranged around a cricket oval, in a project is by Kevin McCabe’s Scarborough Group International, which states it could create over 5,600 jobs and pump £2bn into the local economy. It also includes a 3,900-capacity stadium which will be headquarters for Sheffield Eagles Rugby League and is set to open by February 2022.
The OLP plans also include a National Centre for Child Health Technology which aims to have a ‘major impact on child health across the country’ and a two major research projects by Sheffield Hallam University’s Advanced Wellness Research Centre, on cancer care and long-Covid.
A spokesman for the Olympic Legacy Park said: “The Park plans to play a significant role in the post-pandemic and post-Brexit economy of the Sheffield City Region and positively impact the Government’s levelling-up agenda.”
Sports Minister Richard Caborn hosted a virtual news conference and said the plans continued the legacy of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
The OLP is on the site of the demolished Don Valley stadium where Olympic gold medal winning heptathlete Jessica Ennis used to train. Sheffield Hallam University’s Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre now stands on what was the final bend.
Mr Caborn said: “Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park is building on its legacy of being one of the world’s most successful elite athlete training facilities - including Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill, Nicola Adams OBE, Will Bayley MBE and Anthony Joshua OBE - and becoming a world class centre of applied research and development to improve the nation’s health and wellbeing.”
The planned National Centre for Child Health Technology will be the ﬁrst of its kind in the world, and will position the UK as a global leader in paediatrics and child health, according to Prof Paul Dimitri, professor of child health and director of research and innovation at Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust. It aims to develop technology to tackle obesity, mental health, long term conditions and prevention.
He said: “The CCHT will create over 100 high value jobs, and its co-location with the Oasis School and University Technical College will provide research and employment opportunities in the future.
“Overall, we predict that the CCHT alone will generate £30m in research funding, attract £50m in private sector investment and will deliver over £200m in savings to the NHS in the next 10 years.
“Investing in the health and healthcare of children and young people makes sense - our future in fact depends on it.”
Sheffield Hallam University’s £14m Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre opened on the Olympic Legacy Park a year ago. Despite Covid, it has welcomed 24 start-up business to its £900,000 Wellbeing Accelerator programme.
Prof Rob Copeland, AWRC director, announced the expansion of its long-COVID recovery project and plans for new research into the role of exercise in cancer care.
He said: “The Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park is perhaps the best physical representation of the ideals of a health legacy from the Olympic Games anywhere in the world.
“The Park brings together community, physical activity, research, education, sport, technology and innovation to transform health and wellbeing.
“The importance of the nation's health and wellbeing and its links to economic prosperity has never been more obvious. With the assets and partners located on Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park, we are well positioned to lead the research and innovation agenda to improve the health and wellbeing of our nation.”
Mark Hitchman, managing director of Canon Medical Systems Europe, said the diagnostic imaging hub would feature CT and MRI scanners, X-ray and ultrasound.
Artificial intelligence would be trained to scan images and detect tumours before they were visible to the naked eye, he added.
He said: “Early intervention has better outcomes for individuals and society.”
Kevin McCabe said the development was set to feature a monument to Harry Brearley, who invented stainless steel in Sheffield.
He added: “South Yorkshire can be reluctant to shout from the rooftops and celebrate its history and heritage. In bygone years the Don Valley area had many companies making iron and steel components including Brown Bailey which employed Mr Brearley who invented stainless steel in 1913. We want to recognise the past and we will ask our own man of steel Richard Caborn to unveil it.”
The tram and canal provided car-free access to the city centre and they would also explore using the land on the other side of the canal.
He added: “We’ll look at extending the park’s health and wellbeing facilitiies as well as major new housing areas.”
The new leader of Sheffield City Council, Bob Johnson, said he was delighted with the plans.
He added: “It will help us take our place as what we are, the fourth largest city in the country.”
‘Legacy Park Ltd’ comprises Sheffield City Council, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield City Trust, Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust, South Yorkshire & Bassetlaw Integrated Care System and Yorkshire & Humber Academic Health Sciences Network.
The OLP is already home to the English Institute of Sport Sheffield, the Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre, Oasis Academy Don Valley, UTC Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park, the National Centre for Sport & Exercise Medicine, FlyDSA Arena, a 3G pitch, iceSheffield and Don Valley Bowl.