Richard Caborn announces plan to redevelop site of Don Valley Stadium

Last Updated: 12/03/13 2:26pm

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Redevelopment pleases Minichello

Sky Bet

A proposal for a major redevelopment of Sheffield's Don Valley Stadium site has been unveiled by former sports minister Richard Caborn.

The decision to close and demolish the stadium as part of council cost-cutting measures was announced earlier this month and drew criticism from Olympic gold medallist Jessica Ennis and her coach Toni Minichiello who use it for training.

But Caborn has announced a counter-proposal for "the biggest Olympic legacy project outside London" which includes a refurbished Woodburn Road athletics track, a high-performance centre and new homes for their rugby league club Sheffield Eagles and union side the Titans.

Caborn admitted the plan - which Minichiello backs - is at an embryonic stage, but said: "This is the result of intensive work by a small group of significant organisations in the Sheffield city region to consider a future for the Don Valley Stadium.

"It would have been lovely to keep the stadium but last week there was no future for athletics in Sheffield and now there is. I think it gives us a real future for athletics in Sheffield."
Toni Minichiello

Unique

"It is a unique scheme which has already received funding to go to the feasibility stage."

Mr Caborn said his team had looked at solutions based on the current stadium but none were feasible, admitting there was no realistic use for a 25,000-seater athletics stadium any more.

He said the new proposal will provide a range of facilities and had been developed with partners including both of the city's universities, hospitals, the University Technical College (UTC) and Sport England.

Minichiello said: "Certainly from the athletics point of view, I think it's a superb plan.

Investment

"You are looking at a substantially larger investment into the Woodburn Road track and an indoor facility there, which is more than I could have hoped for.

"It would have been lovely to keep the stadium but last week there was no future for athletics in Sheffield and now there is. I think it gives us a real future for athletics in Sheffield."

"We are talking about 2,000 seats," Minichiello added. "I think it's incredibly practical. It gives us an athletics site, it's not a shared site.

"We've had difficulties in the past when it comes to sharing facilities with rugby and other sports but now we're going to have a venue that is purely for athletics.

"Let's hope the feasibility study comes together and we can make it happen."

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