New Sheffield community basketball arena 'could be built by September 2019'

The construction team hoping to build a community basketball area in Sheffield have confirmed to council bosses it can be built in time to fulfil its obligation of providing sports facilities to school children near the site.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 16th August 2018, 1:11 pm
Updated Thursday, 16th August 2018, 3:09 pm
How the arena would look.

Sheffield Sharks were given one month to finalise a financial plan which would enable to an area on the Olympic Legacy Park by Sheffield Council last month.

The council is under pressure to be able to provide students with facilities by September 2019, when secondary pupils are due to join primary children at Oasis Academy Don Valley and its Cabinet approved alternative proposals to provide provision at the English Institute of Sport.

Sarah Backovic.

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But Sharks, together with Park Community Arena Ltd, have now written to the council making them aware that its construction team can have it built by that date - subject to final verification of a bank loan.

Sarah Backovic, Sharks' managing director, said: "We have responded positively to all of the points in the cabinet meeting report. In terms of the construction, our team has confirmed that this build can be built by September 2019 so we are now a viable option for the council.

"If all matters can be finalised by the end of September then we can complete it by next September."

If the bank loan is approved, Sharks then hope to obtain the rest of the funding from the council as a loan.

Ms Backovic said: "We are very keen to have that facility and we don't see ourselves as competing with the EIS because it's a completely different facility to ours.

"The arena would be a community facility for the community, who can use it at an affordable rate for secondary sports such as basketball. The arena will really be a community facility and that's why we want to make it happen."

Speaking after the meeting last month, council chief executive John Mothersole said: “Cabinet has agreed to officers’ recommendations to proceed with the EISS option.

“But if, within four weeks, PCA can secure confirmed bank finances; can give legal guarantees to the school; can show a business plan which can support the relevant interest rates; and can confirm their ability to be ready for the school in September 2019, then the council will consider re-evaluating the options.

“If we move forward with EISS then change the decision there will be aborted costs and the council will have to face up to these and deal with it.

“But we need to stop talking and get a decision made. It’s about moving forward for the sake of the school while accepting the PCA option may firm up more. The ball is now in their court to make progress.”