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Campaigners launch final bid to save loved stadium

Prestigious northern athletics stadium threatened with demolition

A last ditch bid has been launched to save a prestigious northern athletics stadium threatened with demolition thanks to government cuts.

Don Valley Stadium in South Yorkshire was built at a cost of £29 million in 1990 to host the 1991 World Student Games.

When the games were over it was used as a sports asset for a wide range of communities and sporting organisations.

It provided a home for Rotherham United FC, Sheffield Eagles rugby league club, Parramore FC, City of Sheffield Athletics Club, and Sheffield Half-Marathon.

It was a training ground for athletes and up-coming sporting stars of the future. Track and field athlete and Olympic Gold Medallist Jessica Ennis-Hill trained there.

Sheffield athletics coach Lewis Samuel said: "The stadium needs to stay for the greater good of Sheffield.

"Our two nearest rival cities, Manchester and Leeds, are expanding all the time and we're regressing to the 1980s."

The stadium can seat 25,000 and as a music venue it can cater for an audience of 50,000.

But Sheffield City Council, along with councils across the country, faces tens of millions of pounds in cuts to government funding. In January it proposed closing the stadium as it hunted for £50 million savings and by April the council decided to demolish the stadium.

A campaign of opposition was launched, with petitions to Downing Street and the council. One group, Save Don Valley Stadium, launched a bid to take over the stadium through a "community asset transfer" but this was rejected by the council.

The stadium was shut down on September 29.

Campaigners continued their fight and launched a petition calling for 5,000 signatures, which would place the issue back on Sheffield City Council's agenda for its next meeting.

Yesterday the Save Our Stadium group was gathering final signatures on its petition. It needed to reach the 5,000 target by 3pm to trigger the debate at Sheffield City Council's next meeting on November 6.


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