Allowing a £300 million expansion of Meadowhall will result in Sheffield city centre ‘continuing to decline’, rival shopping centre bosses claim.
Officials representing the company behind the new £50m Fox Valley retail scheme in Stocksbridge have made an official objection to the new Meadowhall proposals.
A spokesman said: “The city centre has lost about a quarter of its market share among city residents over the last seven years.
“The proposal would only serve to accelerate this pattern of divergence, with Meadowhall continuing to grow, and the city centre continuing to decline.
“Vital and long planned investment in the city centre would be placed at risk.”
Meadowhall bosses want to build a new 330,000 sq ft Leisure Hall, which would include a new cinema, new restaurants and a gym.
The plan allows for leisure space that could potentially be used for activities such as indoor golf and ten-pin bowling.
Meadowhall owners British Land say the Leisure Hall extension will create 1,400 jobs and it is hoped it could open by early 2021.
But Fox Valley representatives said that describing the expansion as designed for leisure rather retail activities ‘is at best disingenous’.
“This is not a proposal for a ‘Leisure Hall’,” their report said.
“It is a proposal for the large scale and general expansion of Meadowhall, with the objective of transforming it into ‘an exceptional regional and national destination’, meeting a wide range of needs to the exclusion of centres.
“There are no operators identified for the leisure space.
“This raises questions about how, or indeed if, this floorspace would be occupied for leisure, or whether attempts would then be made to secure its use for alternative, likely retail, use.”
Fox Valley’s planning consultants added that the Meadowhall expansion would ‘significantly harm’ their development on the site of the former Outokumpu steelworks, which has been open for less than a year after a decade of planning.
A spokesman for Meadowhall said the shopping centre’s owners did not wish to comment at this stage of the planning process.