Stadium closure will hit children

From: Rachel Poole and Del Fletcher

By e-mail

We are writing to express our grave concerns over the proposed closure of Woodbourn Road Stadium and would urge the council to seriously rethink its intentions.

Woodbourn Road is currently used to host a large number of schools athletics events involving hundreds of primary and secondary age children each year. For many this is their first taste of athletics, from which a significant number go on to actively participate in the sport for many years to come.

If Woodbourn Road were to close, this would seriously threaten the future of schools athletics in the city. We believe that the alternatives on offer have severe limitations in terms of likely costs and available facilties.

The proposed closure has not been brought fully to public attention. This was apparent by many people’s shocked reactions to a petition circulated at the recent Primary Schools Athletics Final. This petition was supported and signed by almost 200 people. In addition, many schools, parents and young athletes have sent letters to the council urging them to keep Woodbourn Road open.

At a time when there is so much concern over the health and activity levels of young people and when the emphasis is on the sporting legacy of the 2012 Olympics, it is vital that the future of Woodbourn Road and of schools athletics in Sheffield is protected.