Meadowhall policy is not out of date, claim

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Claims that Sheffield Council’s planning policy restricting retail development around Meadowhall is out of date were refuted by the council’s legal team.

Andrew Fraser-Urquhart, the council’s barrister, said: “These policies are framed in the context of significant evidence showing that the city centre is in a fragile state.

“It requires protection from a potential series of out-of-centre developments which, whilst individually not having a significant adverse impact on the viability and vibrancy of the city centre, nevertheless cumulatively would have that effect.”

Mr Fraser-Urquhart said the policy against Meadowhall expansion is ‘part of a recently-adopted core strategy and fully compliant with the national planning policy framework’.

Sheffield Council said it had correspondence with the owner of the Mothercare and Staples site to say the land could be ‘readily developed’ and that Next’s objections to the St Mary’s Gate location were ‘groundless’.

The council’s expert witness Andrew Jackson, of GL Hearn surveyors, said Next was a ‘further retail development which will increase the attraction and dominance of Meadowhall adding to the decline of the city centre’.

Mr Jackson said a mezzanine floor within the existing building at St Mary’s Gate could provide a store of 5,960 sq metres - larger than the planned store at Vulcan Road.