Hillsborough Park: Councillors approve controversial activities hub

Plans for a controversial activities hub at a Sheffield park have been unanimously agreed by councillors.

Existing facilities at Hillsborough Park are now set to be redeveloped and will include a new community space and multi-use games area (MUGA).

Critics previously said the plans, which were approved on Tuesday, would reduce the free-to-use area.

In response, Sheffield City Council said the scheme was "in the [park's] best interest".

The controversy over the new MUGA was one of the reasons the Friends of Hillsborough Park, a community group which worked for the benefit of the park, disbanded in November.

The group, which had set up a petition protesting against the plans, said it felt it had "regrettably, little influence in what is done to the park".

Under the plans, submitted by CT Planning on behalf of company Courtside Hubs CIC, the existing tennis court would be redeveloped and the MUGA replaced.

In the future, chargeable facilities at the park would include new tennis and netball courts, covered padel tennis, mini golf, accessible toilets and an indoor area for groups and events.

'Modernise and enhance'

According to planning documents, developers hoped the scheme would "modernise and enhance" the sports and recreation facilities on site.

However, Friends of Hillsborough Park had labelled the plans "a privatisation of parks" and raised access concerns for disabled cycling group Cycling 4 All.

The council's planning and highways committee said it was understood that the new MUGA would remain as a free-to-use facility, but would reduce in size.

Courtside CIC told the BBC back in October that there would be special provision for disability cycling and those learning to ride bikes, skateboards or scooters.

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