“Why do our council love wasting money?” – Readers share their thoughts on a £50m city centre multipurpose arena

Late last week a plan was revealed for a £50m, 6,000 capacity performance, arts and conference venue at Pond Street. A project that would see the Sheffield Arena focus on sports and the interchange would be relocated to another site.

Wednesday, 6th April 2022, 10:45 am
Updated Wednesday, 6th April 2022, 10:49 am

We asked our readers what they thought of the plans, as well as whether they thought it was a good use of funds. Here are a selection of their thoughts on the topic.

Barry Bartle says that “It's a fantastic idea.”

Nathan Woolhouse replied saying, “I thought the council didn't want people visiting Sheffield, what with all the road closures and clean air zones.”

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Bring Me The Horizon at Sheffield Arena.

Denise Derrick put forward her thoughts, “I think the money would/should be spent on something more important for the area.”

Paul Booth believes that it, “Could be a good idea as it says it will be used for other things as well. The main thing they have to check is as mentioned in the idea is that bands could play two nights in a row to equate for the smaller seating. This needs to be checked to see if the big bands they want to attract and bring money into the city centre would be open to doing two or more nights in a row.”

Dev Devine says that the council, “Should have done this years ago, along with a shopping centre instead of sticking them both on the edge of the city.”

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Steve Lodge was not quite scathing but his response was understandably cutting, “Terrible idea. No big bands are going to agree to come to a six thousand seat venue when they can go to Leeds which is double the capacity and sell many more tickets. All it will do is have three venues in the existing Arena the City Hall and the new Arena all after the same events which could lead to one or two of the three closing and then all we will be left with is the white elephant six thousand seat Arena.

Some people had big ideas for how the city centre could see a positive transformation.

Thomas Richard Barton-firth thinks that, “the money needs to be diverted into something that is actually more needed instead of putting more student accommodation up and pull in pubs down because it's destroying Sheffield local iconic landmark and I also think that if they use money like for the big Debenhams at the bottom of the moor in Sheffield that should become an open hospital to reduce the amount of pressure that's on the NHS at both ends I think we should take the time to reconsider of using all the empty student accommodations to house the homeless as well instead of just throwing them willy-nilly.”

As did Neil Thomas, who believes that, “Insulation in old houses would be far better. Can’t afford gas, never mind days out. Wealthy live in brilliant insulated homes, while poor live in bad insulated damp cold homes.”

But not everybody is sold on the idea.

Alison Jackson replied with a firm, “No, council money could be better used and we have a great arena with parking. I avoid city centre at night and rarely go to City Hall or theatres because of parking and safety plus I only have one bus an hour.”

Mark Davenport did not hide his frustrations, “We never get things right ,we already have an arena, we had a sports stadium built with bad design and no thought for its use afterwards, they adapted Woodburn Road at first ,and realised that was not going to be suitable, we have Ponds Forge built as a national sports venue that is getting run down from lack of investment, we do not need another arena, and 6000,capacity is too small, lack of parking is the main problem, and a bad traffic system.”

Karen Robinson opined that it was simply, “Another dumb idea by SCC. Utilise and promote the facility we have!”

"In a time when many are struggling to meet basic needs, announcing something like this is just a slap in the face!”

This was a take shared by Rachael Beer, who wrote “Why do our council love wasting money? Build Don Valley then knock it down to build something near identical! Get rid of the markets to build another market! Build a new concert venue when we already have one.”

Hudson David was keen to point out that, “We already have an Arena, if you have one in the centre. The city will grind to a stop because of traffic. Just look a Leeds.”

And Simon Leary responded saying that, “We already have one much bigger, build a new one and the old one will go bust and get knocked down.”

Christopher Creswick was clear on his view of it all, “No, we already have a decent arena. Use the money to help the homeless, elderly and vulnerable instead. In a time when many are struggling to meet basic needs, announcing something like this is just a slap in the face!”

"We have an arena already, we dont need another white elephant!!”

Many others were incredulous at the idea that this is a good way to spend money.

Gillian Parker commented, “Does that mean they have money to spend? Spend it were it is needed in that case.”

Her views were shared by Jan Shaw, who replied saying, “bang on Gillian. We have an arena already, we dont need another white elephant!!”

Malcolm Sissons added, “Let's remember the Music museum what a disaster, student games John Lewis building on and on what can Sheffield Trust and Council run? Nothing other Answers on a postcard please”

Richard Gregory kept it short in his response, “Ludicrous” was all he had to say on the idea.

Eliza Barberis gave what she called, “my polite answer is - food banks? Homeless? Power supplies for the vulnerable? Unsafe community housing with damp/fire cladding issues? Clean air?” It was another take agreed upon by a number of our readers.

“Could be a good idea as it says it will be used for other things as well”

The most popular response came from Alex Pettifer, who said, “Why not turn John Lewis site into a site for a British Museum in the north. This would complete the cultural corridor between railway station and the City Hall.” An idea that many people could get behind.

Finally, Jamie Hinesenberg Hines says that, “It's not a good or bad idea. It's a s**t idea.”

It’s fair to say from the comments here and the majority shared… the people have indeed spoken.