Video: Sheffield's £55m Olympic Legacy Park opens to the public for the first time

The people of Sheffield can finally take a stroll, run or cycle around the city's £55 million Olympic Legacy Park.

Monday, 18th September 2017, 3:06 pm
Updated Monday, 18th September 2017, 3:15 pm
Runners make the most of the new open space.

The site of the old Don Valley Stadium has been surrounded by tall hoardings while work on the sports, research and education complex has progressed.

But this morning the public were allowed to explore parts of the 35-acre development for the first time as the landscaped open space was revealed.

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Watch: Richard Caborn on public spaces at the OLPPathways lead between the UTC Olympic Legacy Park and Oasis Academy Don Valley, connecting the site with Attercliffe Common, Worksop Road and the Don Valley Bowl.

The planted areas give views of the modern new buildings, as well as the 3G pitch that should one day become home to Sheffield Eagles rugby league team and possibly Sheffield United Ladies - but also available to school pupils and the public.

There is even a 100 metre running track where people can try to improve their times.

Once complete the site will also be home to a cutting edge Sheffield Hallam University research centre - for which planning approval was granted last week - a basketball arena and offices.

The OLP houses Oasis Academy Don Valley and UTC Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park.

Project lead and former sports minister Richard Caborn was joined by Simon Carr of Henry Boot PLC, which carried out the landscaping and built the pitch, along with pupils from the nearby school as he opened the new space.

Mr Caborn said the old Don Valley Stadium, built for the World Student Games, was 'transformational' when it opened but had become a burden.

"This was underutilised," he said, pointing to a photo of the stadium.

"When this is completed there will be well in excess of 3,000 people every day coming on here, and also being used by the public as well."

Oasis Academy Don Valley pupils on the 100m track that is part of the public space at the Olympic Legacy Park.

Mr Caborn said the vision had always been for the park, known as the OLP, not just to be used by the 'professionals, the elite, the weekend warriors', but also by the community.

"We made sure that the community had actually been consulted, and indeed informed about what we are doing, and we accepted their ideas about what they wanted for their community - and I think that's very important if we are going to achieve what we want to do here," said Mr Caborn.

"This is about a living park and using sports facilities in a way that can be done 24/7."

The site also includes easy access to Sheffield and Tinsley Canal, which was tidied and improved by volunteers from the OLP design and construction teams over the summer.

An aerial view of the site.

The green space is supposed to encourage walking, running and cycling, and two new Outdoor City run routes have been created within the park.

An orchard has also been planted to complement the school's edible garden and promote healthy eating.

The work has been paid for through the European Regional Development Fund and Sheffield City Region Infrastructure Fund.

The hope is that the OLP will act as a catalyst for the wider regeneration of the Attercliffe area, which has in recent history been known for its sex shops and swingers clubs.

Richard Caborn with Simon Carr from Henry Boot.
The new public space.
The OLP houses Oasis Academy Don Valley and UTC Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park.
Oasis Academy Don Valley pupils on the 100m track that is part of the public space at the Olympic Legacy Park.
An aerial view of the site.
Richard Caborn with Simon Carr from Henry Boot.
The new public space.