The gates finally close at Don Valley

World Student Games with British team, Sheffield.
World Student Games with British team, Sheffield.
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The gates of Don Valley Stadium will be locked this weekend after the venue’s 22 years as a symbol of Sheffield as a city of sport.

It was built ready for the World Student Games whose opening ceremony attracted a crowd of 25,000.

The last scheduled event is an exhibition by Bonsai tree traders on Sunday, under the landmark grandstand.

The council remains under pressure to halt the proposed demolition of the Don Valley in recognition of its community value.

But even if it agrees to allow six months for all options to be explored, it has allocated no money to keep the stadium open in the meantime, or at any other time. Athletics will switch to nearby Woodbourn Road from next month.

Meanwhile, new sports, leisure and education uses are being mooted for the cleared Don Valley site.

Even so, a campaign group is not giving up its efforts to be given the time to show that the stadium, best known as the home of Olympic champion Jessica Ennis-Hill, could have a viable future.

And opposition Liberal Democrats will press next week for a reprieve so options can be explored.

Councillors decided to close the venue and to relocate athletics to nearby Woodbourn Road to save £700,000 a year and a £1.6m repair bill in the face of big cuts in Government grants.

The gates are shutting on a venue that has seen everything from international athletics and matches involving Rotherham United and Sheffield Eagles to computer fairs and wedding shows and concerts by the Rolling Stones and Michael Jackson.

The financial hurdles are huge. Whether the gates remained locked for good remains to be seen.