‘The best idea in ages’ – that’s the verdict of supporters on plans to reopen Sheffield Ski Village as an Olympic snow sports hub.
Backers have thrown their weight behind community group Snowsport For Sheffield’s project.
The group met with Sheffield Council on Monday and is holding a public meeting at The Forum on Division Street at 10.30am today to unveil plans for a multi-sport facility which could cost up to £40 million.
Chairman Alan Bister said a dry ski slope would cost £6 million to £7 million to build, but a Centre Of Excellence could be as much as £12m, rising to £40m for an indoor snow slope.
He said the council meeting went ‘really well’ and has given the group encouragement for the future, adding: “Any of the propositions will create long-term sustainable employment. The larger the facility, the more jobs.”
Commenting online on the petition, Star reader Steve Walton said: “Bringing any kind of facility to teach the next generation of Woodsys, Machons, Longleys and Summerhayes back to Sheffield is the best idea I have seen in ages.”
John Beynon added: “This is a chance to bring one of the original venues of snow sports in the UK back to life.
“It has helped many riders progress in the past and now is a great time to reinvest in the facility so soon after Sochi.
“Renewed facilities here would be a fantastic legacy after the 2014 games.”
Rachel Parker said: “What a great cause to get some sport back into sheffield and after recent Olympics where team GB made an impact.
“Let’s get some home grown athletes from Sheffield back on the map with up and coming youngsters.”
Kevin Pullan, the site’s current owner, said it could be regeneration ‘battleground’.
He wants to put 100 houses on the nearby Parkwood Springs area, which he said could co-exist with a new ski village.
Mr Pullan was told the council would not support housing on what he dubs ‘Sheffield’s number one urban wasteland’, but he has written to the authority requesting a fresh meeting, insisting plans would be compliant with guidelines.
He added: “The Ski Village could be the battleground for future regeneration. But a dry ski slope by itself isn’t viable.
“When it was open it was making a profit, but that was due to the bowling alley, café, children’s activities and go-karts. The Olympic slope was making nothing.”
A council spokeswoman said: “Sheffield Council and Snowsport agreed we want to see the ski slope reinstated as soon as possible.
“The site is held on long lease by a private individual and the council is doing everything possible to ensure the terms of the lease are being met. The meeting agreed the council and Snowsport would continue to work together to ensure all the parties find a solution.”