UK & World News
Don Valley: Jessica Ennis' Track To Close
The athletics stadium where Olympic gold medallist Jessica Ennis trains is to close.
Sheffield City Council voted to go ahead with the closure of the Don Valley stadium as part of a package of cuts. The council has to save £50m in the next financial year.
Ennis reacted to news of the closure minutes after it was announced, tweeting: "So sad to lose Don Valley Stadium! Where it all started for me. Great memories."
She had called on councillors to rethink the plans, saying: "It would be a huge shame. I've got some amazing memories, starting my athletic career there and having that iconic stadium in my home city is incredible.
"To lose that would be such a shame for future athletes coming through, so I hope that the right decision's made and we can find a way to keep it."
The stadium will remain open until September 2013 so planned events over the summer, including the British Transplant Games, can still go ahead. Alternative uses for the stadium or site will be considered by the city council until then.
Ennis began her athletics career after attending a summer camp at the stadium in her home city. Thousands gathered at the stadium to watch on a big screen as she won Olympic gold in the heptathlon at London 2012.
Councillors have been accused of failing to build on the Olympic legacy by closing the venue. A smaller, currently mothballed, stadium will be refurbished for athletes in Sheffield.
Jessica's coach Toni Minichiello says he is not convinced sufficient investment will be made in the alternative site and says the loss of the Don Valley stadium is a blow to the sport.
He told Sky News: "It is an iconic stadium and it's a place that has inspired youngsters and none more so than Jessica Ennis.
"It is a fantastic facility and it is an incredible shame to lose something like this from the sporting map.
"Having taken the youngsters all the way through to Olympic gold you see that this actually can be done in Sheffield.
"Why, if you can have one Jessica Ennis, can you not have two or three?
"That opportunity all of a sudden looked to be there and now it's going to be taken away from a whole new generation of youngsters."
Sheffield City Council said in order to keep the Don Valley Stadium open and achieve the same level of saving it would have had to close up to five community sports facilities.
The council says that would have resulted in a loss in sports participation of up to 10 times greater that shutting the athletics stadium.
Councillor Isobel Bowler, Cabinet Member for Culture, Sport and Leisure at Sheffield City Council said "No-one wants to close Don Valley but we can no longer afford to subsidise it by £700,000 a year.
"Over the next 10 years, the council will save over £6m - a huge amount of money."
"We will still provide a home for athletics at Woodbourn, which is less than a mile away and will cost less than £70,000 a year to run.
"This approach has been endorsed by the sport's governing body and the city's two main athletics clubs are already engaged in constructive discussions with the council about the transfer.
"Woodbourn will technically offer the same quality of track and field facilities and in fact will provide uninterrupted access for our local clubs."
what do you think?
Unfortunately culture and sports are a very easy thing for council's to cut. So much for our Olympic legacy
Did we ever really believe the 'legacy' promises Grant - especially when made by politicians ?
The first thing Sheffield council did when it got elected was to give grants to every one off its supporting groups,spent nearly2million revamping its office's and 5 million on consultants,and refused a government grant of 5 million,then they announced 600 redundancys,and blame it on cuts.,
It is costing £700k a year to maintain at a time when council services are being reduced. With a limited pot of money it is all about priorities. How many council care staff, home helps etc would you sack to keep this facility open ??