Sheffield & South Yorkshire

Jessica Ennis criticises Don Valley Stadium demolition plan

The demolition of Sheffield's Don Valley athletics stadium would be a "huge shame" for the city, Olympic champion Jessica Ennis has said.

Earlier this month the BBC revealed the stadium, where the gold-medal winner trains, could be knocked down to save Sheffield council money.

But demolishing the stadium "sends the wrong message", said Ennis.

No decisions have been made and demolition was just one of a list of money-saving options, the council said.

Sheffield Council faces making £50m of cuts in 2013-14 on top of £140m cuts already made in the last two years.

'Great memories'

A council document seen by the BBC, showed the authority could save £500,000 per year if the Don Valley Stadium, which was opened in 1991 for the World Student Games in Sheffield at a cost of £29m, was to close.

It raised the possibility of reopening the city's smaller Woodburn Road Athletics Stadium, which was closed 18 months ago to save money.

Ennis, a member of Sheffield Athletics Club, whose members train at Don Valley Stadium, said it held "great memories" as it was where she started her athletic career.

Image caption Sheffield's Don Valley Stadium is where Olympic champion Jessica Ennis was first discovered

"It's a huge shame. To see it demolished would be a massive, massive disappointment," she said.

"We've achieved so much as a country in the London Olympics, so to lose some great facilities sends out the wrong message, really."

"I understand budgets and costs, but I think we need to find a way to keep it."

Sheffield council previously said councillors were considering a number of options as they decide the authority's budget for the coming financial year.

Councillors have until 4 March to finalise the city's budget for 2013-14.

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