Delay Sheffield stadium axe, Clegg urges

Closed for business - the Don Valley Stadium
Closed for business - the Don Valley Stadium
Have your say

Demolition of the Don Valley Stadium should be delayed to allow a community group more time to find funding to revive the venue, Nick Clegg has urged.

The Deputy Prime Minister and Sheffield Hallam MP has waded into the debate on the future of the stadium, which is due to be bulldozed before the end of the year.

Friends of Don Valley asked unsuccessfully for Don Valley to be designated as a community asset - which would have allowed the venue to be mothballed pending a rescue plan.

Mr Clegg said: “I’m hugely disappointed that Labour councillors have decided Don Valley Stadium is not an asset of community value.

“This short-sighted decision has denied the Save Don Valley Stadium group access to central Government grants, which would have helped them develop a business plan and move closer to their vision of running the venue at no cost to the public.

“Instead of working with the community to protect facilities, we have a council determined to close services because they think they can blame it on someone else.

“What makes the situation even more unpalatable is that local taxpayers are still paying off the debt from when the stadium was built for the 1991 World Student Games, costing £25m a year.”

But Sheffield Council hit back saying Government rules prevent councils from accessing grants to cover the £150,000 bill for mothballing Don Valley - which the authority cannot afford.

Coun Isobel Bowler, cabinet member for culture, said: “The fact is that the council now has no budget to keep it open, no money to mothball it and no offer of money from anyone else.

“I think local people will find it unbelievable for Nick Clegg of all people to accuse Labour councillors of not having Sheffield’s best interests at heart when he is responsible for the level of cuts we are facing.”