Hopes on the slide for reviving athletics track

Coun Peter Price offically opens the Woodburn Road Athletic Arena, 4 July 1987
Coun Peter Price offically opens the Woodburn Road Athletic Arena, 4 July 1987
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WOODBOURN Road athletics track in Sheffield will remain closed for at least another six months – after talks with three potential bidders to take over the facility fell through.

Former British world bobsleigh champion Nicola Minichiello was among the interested parties. Her company, Team Active Fun, was proposing to use the Attercliffe site for the UK’s third dry bobsleigh push track.

But she has withdrawn her plans, blaming delays in the council’s bidding process and deterioration of the site. The council denies both claims and said the track is in good condition.

Sheffield Council decided the two remaining bidders – one proposing a community sports facility and the other planning a martial arts centre – had not come up with ‘sufficiently advanced’ ideas.

Nicola Minichiello said she had wanted to create a ‘truly modern community sports facility’. “My fellow co-founders and directors have worked tirelessly since June developing our plans,” she said.

“We expected a few delays, but this seven month process has resulted in us missing the opportunity to start earning a return on proposed investment which we would find difficult to regain.”

Sheffield Council confirmed three bidders had expressed an interest in the site. But it said the two remaining bidders’ plans ‘did not offer long term confidence for the council to progress’.

Woodbourn Road track was closed last summer and put up for sale as a going concern because the council was unable to fund its upkeep. Applications locally and nationally were sought for sporting and recreational uses, with a closing date of mid October.

Coun Helen Mirfin-Bourkouris said: “We’re disappointed an alternative use has not been found. We will now mothball the site.”

But she added: “Sheffield is fortunate in having a strong athletics offer with venues such as Don Valley Stadium and the English Institute of Sport.”

A further decision is likely to be made in six months.