Sheffield’s ambitious £40m vision of sport

Artist's impression and plans of Don Valley Stadium redevelopment
Artist's impression and plans of Don Valley Stadium redevelopment
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AMBITIOUS plans to redevelop Don Valley Stadium at a total cost of £40 million would include a new sports medicine centre and college, it has been revealed.

A National Centre for Sport and Exercise Medicine and a second University Technical College for Sheffield would be created alongside the new rugby stadium and athletics facilities if the scheme goes ahead.

Some funding for the vision has been committed by Sheffield Council and the Government but tens of millions have still to be found to get the scheme off the ground.

The plans would also include a ‘High Performance Centre’ linking existing elite sports based in the Lower Don Valley with Sheffield Hallam University’s Centre for Sports Engineering Research.

The centre would also be connected with the developing Medical Advanced Manufacturing Centre at Catcliffe.

Now a feasibility study will be carried out to see if the scheme can be carried out.

Former Sheffield Central MP and Sports Minister Richard Caborn, appointed by council leader Julie Dore to look at options after Don Valley closes, says funding has not yet been secured.

The council has pledged £150,000 to the scheme and is bidding for up to £300,000 from Sports England and UK Athletics.

The National Centre for Sport and Exercise Medicine is being developed as part of a £10m scheme in Sheffield, which includes a revamp of Graves Tennis and Leisure Centre in Norton, with funding coming from the Government and NHS.

The Star yesterday revealed plans to build a new 12,000 to 15,000-seat rugby stadium for Sheffield Eagles and Rotherham Titans.

And up to £2.5 million could be spent upgrading Woodbourn Road stadium to provide ‘world class’ athletics facilities.

The scheme, endorsed by 2012 chief Lord Coe, would be the ‘largest Olympic legacy project outside London’ according to former Sheffield Central MP and Sports Minister Richard Caborn.

The plans, which also include new venues for basketball, gymnastics and snooker, could create up to 940 jobs.

Mr Caborn said: “In effect it becomes an Advanced Sports and WellBeing Park, giving a comprehensive delivery of the Olympic legacy.

“This is an economic wealth generation project which would take the Don Valley Stadium site from being under-utilised to becoming an economic driver.

“It also builds on the large critical mass of activity around medical technology. More than 200 companies in the Sheffield City Region feed into this global market worth a projected £300 billion.”

Both universities, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership, the trust behind Sheffield’s first University Technical College, and Sport England are supporting the scheme.

Andrew Snelling, deputy chief executive from Sheffield International Venues which operates Don Valley Stadium and the English Institute of Sport, also in the Lower Don Valley, said: “We are delighted to support this project and continue to work closely and support Richard Caborn to deliver this vision.”

Council defends figure given for Don Valley Stadium subsidy

SHEFFIELD Council said it stands by its figures for the subsidies given to Don Valley Stadium – despite claims they may have been inaccurate.

Don Valley’s subsidy has risen from £500,000 two years ago to £700,000 in 2012/13.

Although the 2012/13 figure is higher because Don Valley Stadium no longer has income from Rotherham United football matches, after the club moved back to its own stadium, it also includes £80,000 of Sheffield International Venues’ management costs.

Opposition councillors have accused Sheffield’s ruling Labour councillors of ‘inflating’ the figures for Don Valley’s losses to justify closure and make a political point to the Government about cuts.

Paul Billington, Sheffield Council’s director of culture, said: “We have worked hard with Sheffield International Venues on the detailed figures, and have agreed the costs from Don Valley Stadium are £700,000 – which will be taken out of SIV’s budget for the coming year.”

Costs for Don Valley Stadium are £686,000 payroll, £198,000 utilities, £140,000 operating costs, £128,000 maintenance, £88,000 business rates, £71,000 catering supplies, £62,000 for depreciation of equipment, £43,000 insurance - totalling £1,416,000.

Predicted income for 2013/14 is £797,000 - £323,000 community use, £280,000 catering income, £266,000 commercial events.

The subsidy is £619,000 plus a £89,000 share of head office costs.