In 1984 whilst working in Pennsylvania in the United States of America, we set out to visit the town of Altoona.
When we arrived, we were shocked to find a very run-down, dysfunctional and deserted town centre. We also found the residential area to be abandoned with homes standing empty and rotting away.
On the return journey we noticed a huge windowless building on the outskirts surrounded by a gigantic car park full of cars and decided to investigate.
This building turned out to be a wonderful shopping mall full of shops and teeming with people.
So, when they built Meadowhall I anticipated a similar effect on Sheffield as the mall had had on Altoona.
This may have happened to some extent. At present many of the city centre shops are boarded up and the ones which seem to be doing the most trade are the pawn shops.
I recently counted six between the markets and Moorfoot.
While this is at least partially because of the current recession, my experience, however, is that Sheffield has never had many quality shops.
I have wondered whether this is because Sheffield has never had a sufficiently large prosperous population to support the more expensive shops.
Your correspondents say you need to go to Leeds for good shopping, although, personally, I prefer Manchester, which has been voted the second best retail shopping experience after central London.
Some of your readers consider that IKEA and Next should have been welcomed to Sheffield, since they would bring jobs, and they are right, although Sheffield would be better off with wealth-creating jobs, rather than retail jobs.
Those of us who have visited Nottingham and Leeds will know that these cities have shopping malls in the town centres. Liverpool has recently built a huge mall in the city centre. This is what we should do in Sheffield.
A large mall in the city centre, with car parking nearby will be conveniently located for rail and bus, will attract trade, and will revitalise the centre.
It’s not clear whether the Sevenstone project will achieve this.
I wonder if there is still time to think about it and modify the current plans if necessary?
B W Jervis, Button Hill, Sheffield, S11