£300m Meadowhall extension 'will boost skills and help city businesses'

The proposed Meadowhall extension.
The proposed Meadowhall extension.
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Meadowhall's owner says the proposed £300 million extension will help surrounding businesses and boost the skills of residents.

British Land wants to create a new leisure hall on the side of the shopping centre, and has submitted a planning application.

If the scheme is approved, the firm says it will create about 550 temporary jobs during construction and more than 1,400 jobs once completed, adding to the 8,500 people that work at Meadowhall already.

This is on top of the 400 jobs created by the £60m refurbishment of the centre that is currently underway.

British Land has come up with an employment and skills strategy, focusing on employing locals, involving nearby businesses in the supply chain, creating apprenticeships and traineeships, upskilling its workforce and working with city schools.

The firm hopes 25 per cent of the construction workforce will live in Sheffield, with 30 per cent in the city region.

Meadowhall centre director Darren Pearce said: “Our vision is to ensure that throughout the construction and operational phases of the leisure hall, local people have access to jobs, training opportunities, traineeships and apprenticeships, and employers can access a suitably qualified, skilled and experienced workforce.

"Local businesses will also have access to supply chain opportunities, and contractors and occupiers will be connected to appropriate local suppliers.

"We are committed to the community and will ensure significant benefits are delivered by the leisure hall.”

Apprenticeship provider The Source Academy is based at Meadowhall and works with the shopping centre to provide training.

Interim chief executive Diane Wainwright said: "I am delighted Meadowhall is making this commitment because it is vital the centre continues to make a significant contribution to the Sheffield City Region for many years to come."

Last year a PricewaterhouseCoopers report said one in every 100 jobs in the Sheffield City Region was linked to Meadowhall.

Sheffield councillors have yet to make a decision on the leisure hall plans. But retailers, councils and residents across South Yorkshire have expressed fears it will take business out of surrounding towns.

Among those to object so far is Rotherham Council, Aberdeen Asset Management, which owns The Moor, and Dransfield Properties, which owns Fox Valley in Stocksbridge.

Doncaster Council raised concerns but ultimately said it did not object.