Sheffield Council looking to start work on extension of English Institute of Sport as Sharks’ basketball arena talks continue

How the arena on the Olympic Legacy Park could look.
How the arena on the Olympic Legacy Park could look.

Sheffield Council says it is pressing ahead with its plans to extend the English Institute of Sport but remains open to talks with Sheffield Sharks as the club works to finalise a bank loan for a community basketball arena.

Sharks were asked to finalise a financial plan which would enable them to build an arena on the Olympic Legacy Park by Sheffield Council in July.

How the Park Community Arena on the Olympic Legacy Park would look.

How the Park Community Arena on the Olympic Legacy Park would look.

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The council is under pressure to be able to provide students with facilities by September 2019, when secondary pupils are due to join primary children at Oasis Academy Don Valley and its cabinet approved alternative proposals to provide provision at the English Institute of Sport.

Now Coun Mary Lea, cabinet member for culture, parks and leisure, has said the council ‘needs to deliver the sports facilities for the school’.

She said: “We understand the Sharks are progressing their plans to raise finance. In the meantime, we need to deliver sports facilities for the school and we are doing that with Sheffield City Trust."

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Sarah Backovic, Sharks’ managing director, said the club were expecting verification reports to be submitted soon as part of plans to build a community arena, which the schoolchildren could use.

She said: “It’s all edging closer. It’s been a been frustrating for us because this things aren’t in our own hands and timing wise we would like to be much faster.

“But these things take time and we have to be patient. There are two different consultants – a business analyst and a construction consultant – and we have to wait for their reports to be submitted to the bank.”

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Ms Backovic said the Sharks, together with Park Community Arena Ltd, have written to the council making them aware that its construction team can have it built by the September 2019 deadline - subject to final verification of the loan.