Why Sheffield Ski Village loss is tragic day

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IT WAS hailed as a ‘vision of the future’ – scrubland once home to back-to-back terraces transformed into alpine-style ski slopes.

Built at a cost of £2.5 million by city entrepreneur John Fleetham, and unveiled in 1988, in its heyday Sheffield’s Ski Village attracted 180,000 visitors a year.

The country’s top skiers would gravitate to the city just to use the state-of-the-art site.

A national training centre was developed for the British Ski Federation, with a 30-degree ramp and a 60ft pool for skiers to practise twists, turns and somersaults into water.

Facilities grew to include a bowling alley and space for children’s birthday parties and even weddings.

Today the news the ski village will likely never re-open marks a ‘sad day for Sheffield’, politicians said.

Sheffield MP David Blunkett, whose constituency includes Parkwood Springs, said: “The loss of the ski village has been a tragedy.

“This was a family venue where people used to meet to socialise as well as learn to ski, so this is a sad day for the city. I am hoping the current owner would be prepared to dispose of the site in a way which would allow for future redevelopment of the area.”

He said he hoped another leisure company might come forward to develop the site.

“I have asked the council if they would be able to act as an honest broker on this – the council has no money because of £220 million cuts so it is not in a position to do anything.

“But by acting as an honest broker it could help to find potential developers who could put something together that would be mote imaginative, in terms of giving a wider offer of leisure facilities at the site and fitting in with the wider redevelopment of Parkwood Springs once tipping there is over.

“I am still hopeful that, although it is a tragedy at the moment, we might be able to rally people with ideas for the future because the Ski Village makes a valuable contribution to leisure and sport in the city.”

Coun Julie Dore, leader of Sheffield Council, said: “It’s always a sad day when any local businesses have to make this sort of decision, to close or not to resurrect as a going concern.

“It is especially sad in this case for the people of Sheffield as the Ski Village has always been such a big part of our leisure offer. It is also sad from an employment point of view. As a big city we have a great offer in terms of culture, sport and leisure. T

“he Ski Village was part of that and something other cities did not have.

“I know there have been problems on the site with arson and I understand this must have been a very, very difficult decision for the owners to reach.

“I hope they can get a buyer who will consider continuing with a leisure facility, or even resurrecting the Ski Village or something similar.”