Sheffield Council to save £1 million by scrapping plans to extend English Institute of Sport
A planned extension at the English Institute of Sport Sheffield to provide sports facilities for schoolchildren has been scrapped after council bosses said they could be accommodated within the exisitng venue.
Sheffield Council was under pressure to be able to provide students at the Oasis Academy Don Valley with sports facilities by September after Sheffield Sharks’ plans for a community basketball arena hit delays.
A planning application made by Sheffield International Venues to build a four-court sports hall with storage and changing facilities extension at the EISS was withdrawn in November.
And now, the council has confirmed it can provide the appropriate facilities within the current EIS building – saving £1 million.
Coun Mary Lea, the council’s cabinet member for culture, parks and leisure, said: “We have been in ongoing discussions with Sheffield International Venues and the Don Valley Academy to ensure the commitment to providing sports facilities for its students could be met.
“We are delighted that we will now be able to incorporate those sports facilities into the current EISS building and that plans for an extension are no longer needed.
“This is better for the school because it puts them at the heart of EISS, and better for SIV and the council as it reduces the overall cost of the project by £1m and the risks associated with a development of this size.
“Sheffield City Trust has offered the Sheffield Sharks a new and permanent venue for their home games at Ponds Forge, and is committed to invest at the centre to make sure the venue meets the team’s needs.
“We recognise that the Sharks may still be pursuing their plans for a new facility and may submit their own plans in due course.”
The council was under pressure to meet the September deadline when more secondary school pupils start at the school on the Olympic Legacy Park.
But Richard Caborn, project lead for the OLP, said the door was still open for the club to build a 2,500-seater arena on the former Don Valley Stadium site.
He said: “We are waiting for the Sharks to complete the negotiations with the banks. We are waiting for them to make a decision and once they have, and if they come up with the goods, it can happen.
“The site is quite a good position within the park and I am holding it for them. They have got to get the funding over the line and a lot of people want it to happen.”
The council asked the Sharks, who are hoping to build the arena as part of Park Community Arena Ltd to finalise a bank loan which would enable them to build an arena on the OLP back in July.
In a statement released at the time, Sheffield Sharks said: “In view of the recent article concerning the build of PCA Ltd and the community arena, Sharks Basketball club would like to state that the extension at EIS has no bearing on the future development of the proposed community crena.
“PCA Ltd are committed to developing an affordable venue that will engage all sports and the community use alike.
“Announcements will be made appropriately and in due course.”
Sharks general manager Sarah Backovic said the club would move back to Ponds Forge when the new season begins in September.
She said : “Everybody enjoyed their time at EISS including all our oppositions.
“Ponds Forge was much more of a fortress a slightly more difficult arena to play in unless you train there everyday, so that will bring an additional element of defence I have no doubt.”