British Land wins go-ahead for expansion at Sheffield’s Meadowhall
Sheffield City Council’s decision to reject plans by Leonard Design Architects to expand the city’s out-of-town Meadowhall development has been overturned
After a public enquiry the local authority’s refusal for a new Next store, backed by Meadowhall’s owner British Land, has been reversed in a landmark victory which could pave the way for future expansion at the famous mega-mall.
The store by retail specialists Leonard Design is earmarked for land next to the 139,355 m2 shopping centre, which was completed in 1990.
The scheme was originally refused planning last year, on the grounds that the local authority wanted to concentrate its retail offering in the city centre. But the council’s claims that the £10million store would have a negative impact on Sheffield’s centre were thrown out at appeal.
In a statement British Land said: ‘We are delighted that the planning inspector has agreed with our appeal.
‘This decision will allow us to get on site and proceed with construction as soon as possible, with completion anticipated by the end of 2014. We look forward to bringing more than 150 jobs and much needed investment to this part of Sheffield.
‘British Land is committed to Sheffield and its future and will continue to support retail development, employment and investment in this dynamic and vibrant city.’
Les Sturch, director of regeneration and development at Sheffield City Council, said: ‘The question was not if this development should be built, but rather where it should be built.
‘The planning policies that the council has in place are clear, and the council followed them. This has been acknowledged by the inspector. The council believes that a thriving commercial and civic city centre is key to growing the wider economy, and the city centre is often the first priority for suitable new business.
‘Next’s timescales and size requirements meant the city centre location was deemed unsuitable, and permission has been granted for the out of town site. The inspector has confirmed that this development will not have a negative impact on the city centre.
‘[We]strongly supports business, and [are] keen for big developments and big brands to come to Sheffield. We will now move on and welcome Next as it grows in Sheffield.’
Alongside the new Next Home and Garden store, the new development will also include a car dealership and a drive-through coffee shop.
Construction is set to begin in site ‘as soon as possible’, with the store opening by the end of 2014.
There is also currently a planning application in for an Ikea store, near to the Meadowhall site, but a planning decision is yet to be made.
Deputy prime minister and liberal democrat MP for Sheffield, Nick Clegg has urged the council to allow the Ikea development to go ahead. He said: ‘Local people and the business community are overwhelmingly in favour of the Ikea development. However, many people also supported the Next development which was refused by the Labour Council due to planning concerns.’
Clegg has voiced concern that Sheffield could ‘lose out on new investment and jobs unless the anti-business Labour Council change their attitude [to development]’.