City centre is not shoppers’ choice

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Councillor Alan Law and his planning board decision to turn down Next at Meadowhall is very disappointing .

The Next scheme should be embraced. It represents an opportunity for Sheffield to create a retail destination for the 21st century.

Shoppers decided a long time ago that they like Meadowhall (which is in Sheffield anyway) and retail trends have long since moved on from just a city centre experience .

People have chosen accessibility, free parking and keeping dry.

Nowadays, Sheffield city centre is probably served better as a university campus and public sector workstation which could be much prettier with less concrete and more lifestyle elements. Oh, to see some more green space and water .

Sheffield City Council CEO John Mothersole is at pains to declare that Sheffield is open for business but admits that the city centre is fragile.

Does he accept that times change and Sheffield City centre is no longer where folk want to shop all the time?

For 20 years, Meadowhall has offered a fantastic retail option for not just Sheffield but the much- hyped Sheffield Region and the planners are fighting a battle they cannot and should not win.

They have planned far too much development in the Moorfoot area, it’s ridiculously crammed, so a suggested site for Next at Moorfoot would be plain stupid, Saturday afternoon bedlam.

A Next store at Meadowhall makes sense. It would bring far more shoppers to Sheffield at a much better location without any hassle and traffic.

The Scottish Widows Investments Partnership scheme and markets scheme are to be welcomed and a less ambitious Sevenstone (please lose the rubbish name) could still be supported but must not stand in the way of other commercial progress within the city boundary.

David Slater, Spaces Sheffield Ltd