Huge backing for Next store scheme

Artist's impression of proposed Next Home store at Meadowhall.
Artist's impression of proposed Next Home store at Meadowhall.
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STAR readers overwhelmingly support retailer Next’s plans to develop its biggest home and garden store in Britain on land next to Meadowhall shopping centre.

In an online poll, 92 per cent were in favour of the scheme – despite Sheffield Council refusing planning permission on the grounds of wanting to protect the city centre.

Lord Simon Wolfson, chief executive of Next

Lord Simon Wolfson, chief executive of Next

There were 1,122 votes – 1,036, or 92 per cent, in favour of the Next store and 86 votes, or eight per cent, against.

Next is appealing against the council’s refusal of planning permission. The company said the store would be a £10 million investment and create 125 jobs.

Next chief executive Lord Simon Wolfson said: “This poll speaks for itself – it is a vote for common sense and 125 new jobs.

“I hope the planning appeal will reflect the views of Star readers and allow us to open this wonderful new home and garden store.

“As importantly, let’s hope the coverage and comments in The Star will spur Sheffield Council into doing more to revitalise the city centre.”

Sheffield Council refused permission after objections from Scottish Widows, landlord of The Moor, who feared the scheme would harm the viability of the city centre.

Sheffield Council said it was unable to comment about The Star’s poll because Next has now started its appeal.

Comments on The Star’s website reflected the poll.

Rasbury said: “The proposed location is already a retail destination and its somewhat ludicrous to think that by allowing Next to open a store here it will inhibit investment in the city centre.”

Elamar59 said: “I would definitely vote yes to having a Next store near Meadowhall.

“This is not a store that would consider a city centre location so how is city centre shopping losing out?”

But W1seOwl said: “Whilst I agree that Next should be allowed to bring their flagship store to Sheffield, I am not sure Meadowhall is the right place. Traffic there is horrendous at the best of times.”

* You can still vote. Visit thestar.co.uk to have your say.

Votes in numbers:

Total votes cast in poll asking if Next should be allowed new store - 1,112

Star readers who were in favour of proposals for the Next Home store - 1,036

Votes against the store development - the council’s decision - 86

Proportion of Star readers supporting the Next Home proposals - 92%