By Duncan Mackay

Don Valley StadiumApril 10 - Plans to demolish Don Valley Stadium, the home training track of London 2012 heptathlon champion Jessica Ennis, were tonight confirmed by Sheffield City Council, despite a late attempt to save it.

The 25,000-seat Stadium, constructed at a cost of £29 million ($43 million/€33 million) for the 1991 World Student Games, had to be closed because it has been running at a loss and it had cost £700,000 ($1 million/€800,000) in the last financial year to maintain it, Councillors were told.

It is proposed that the £300,000 ($472,000/€350,000) refurbishment of the Woodbourn Road facility - which closed in 2011 to save money - would be completed before the Stadium's closure at the end of this year.

"The facilities at Woodburn Road are as good, if not better than at Don Valley Stadium, and from consultation with athletics clubs, many view it as a less intimidating stadium," said Paul Billington, Director for Sports and Sports Service at Sheffield City Council.

Jessica Ennis at Don Valley StadiumOlympic heptathlon champion Jessica Ennis will have to find somewhere else to train after Don Valley Stadium is closed at the end of this year

Isobel Bowler, the Cabinet member for Culture, Sport and Leisure, defended the decision to bulldoze the second biggest athletics facility in Britain after the London 2012 Olympic Stadium.

"There was a lot of jumping up and down in the national media when it was first announced, but most people understand the proposals and support it," she said.

"The decision to save money on the Don Valley Stadium was a rational and pragmatic one."

But there was criticism of the decision by Joe Otten, the Liberal Democrats spokesman for sport and culture.

"The day Labour Councillors voted to close doors on the Don Valley Stadium was a sad day for Sheffield," he said.

"At the same time as declaring the site surplus to requirements, Labour bosses have tried to appease campaigners by announcing ideas for the site.

"But while those plans remain just pipe-dreams, Don Valley Stadium should remain open.

"The Council should be fighting to protect Sheffield's reputation as a city of sport."

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