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Beginning of the end for the Don Valley Stadium

Thursday was D day for the Don Valley Stadium. No last minute Decision to save it - just the start of Demolition - 23 years after it opened ahead of the World Student Games.

Despite it being the training arena for Olympic golden girl Jessica Ennis Hill and a high profile campaign against the closure, the city council voted to close the stadium because it was no longer financially viable. Calendar's David Hirst reports.

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Demolition work begins on Don Valley Stadium

Demolition work starts on Sheffield's Don Valley Stadium Credit: Viewer picture

Demolition work has begun at the stadium where athletics hero Jessica Ennis-Hill was discovered and trained for her Olympics triumph.

A piece of heavy machinery was seen tearing down fencing and advertising hoardings this morning around the running track at the Don Valley Stadium in Sheffield.

Contractors in hard hats and high-visibility jackets were working in the stands at the venue, which was closed earlier this year as a council cost-cutting measure.

In addition, a large banner advertising the demolition firm carrying out the work was draped across the centre of the main grandstand.

The decision was taken to close the stadium as part of Sheffield City Council's attempts to save £50 million next year.

It was costing the council around £700,000 a year to run and needed major refurbishment, councillors argued.

Don Valley's fate was finally sealed in October, when the council turned down a last-minute appeal from a campaign group that collected nearly 6,000 signatures on a petition to save it.

Ennis-Hill was discovered when she attended an athletics event for children at the Don Valley when she was 10.

Since then, she used it as her base and cited the facility as one of the reasons why she had not been tempted away from her home city.

Closure of Don Valley still criticised after closure

Woodburn Stadium opens today - after the controversial closure of Don Valley Stadium, the training ground for Olympic champion Jessica Ennis-Hill.

Campaigners had made a last-ditch plea for councillors to delay demolition of Don Valley Stadium – despite failing in their bid to have the venue protected as a ‘community asset’.

Sheffield Hallam MP has called the decision "short-sighted" decision and says the Save Don Valley Stadium group could have accessed Government grants.

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"Alternative" Don Valley stadium opens

Don Valley Stadium, which closed last week

Woodburn Road stadium in Doncaster opens today to cater for the clubs which used to use Don Valley - which closed last week.

It's thought it will be the new training ground of Jessica Ennis-Hill - whose coach, Toni Minichiello, ITV Calendar will be speaking to later.

The closure of Don Valley caused outrage - with 620 people signing a petition asking Sheffield Council to delay the closure, asking for time to come up with a rescue plan.

Council hits back at PM over Don Valley closure

Sheffield City Council has hit back at the Prime Minister after he blamed them over the closure of the Don Valley stadium. David Cameron today told ITV Calendar that other councils had found better ways to save money than closing sports facilities.

But tonight, the council said that they had warned Government ministers, including the Chancellor, about:

...the risk to our sporting and leisure facilities because of the unprecedented cuts to local government, however there was no acknowledgement of the financial situation Sheffield was in and they proceeded to cut local government even further.

– Cllr Isobel Bowler, Sheffield City Council

Last ditch attempt to keep Don Valley

Campaigners have called for a public inquiry after losing their fight to take over the running of Sheffield's Don Valley Stadium. Sheffield City Council turned down an application from a group which wanted to have the site listed as a community asset.

The stadium is expected to close its doors on Sunday, and eventually be demolished. The council says it is costing £700,000 a year to run and is losing too much money. But the campaigners say they have a plan to run it without it costing a penny to the taxpayer.

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