Last-ditch bid to retain Sheffield’s Don Valley stadium

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Campaigners made a last- ditch plea for councillors to delay demolition of Don Valley Stadium – despite failing in their bid to have the venue protected as a ‘community asset’.

Althletics trainer Rob Creasy, of the Friends of Don Valley, presented a 620-signature petition at a full meeting of Sheffield Council asking for six months to come up with a rescue plan.

He said: “It’s the second best facility in Britain after the London Olympic Stadium and we would like to have time to put together a business plan.

“We are unhappy about the council’s process for us applying to have the stadium listed as a community asset – it was changed three times at the 11th hour.

“If we had time, we could move things on quickly.”

But Mr Creasy’s request was refused by Sheffield Council’s ruling Labour group.

Coun Isobel Bowler, cabinet member for culture, said: “It must be said that with the exception of the 25,000 seats, the track and field specification at the reopened Woodbourn Road stadium is the same high quality as at Don Valley Stadium – and has a dedicated throws area.

“The strategy of closing an unaffordable stadium and providing training facilities close by was announced for consultation almost 10 months ago.

“Woodbourn Road has the full support of the City of Sheffield athletics club.

“It is absolutely fit for purpose for outdoor training for athletes of all abilities, including those at the highest level.

“Athletics in the city now has a dedicated home where athletics comes first.

“Because of the significantly reduced running costs compared with Don Valley, the council is able to invest in an athletics development fund – something the city has not had for many years.”