Next row must be sorted out

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IS Sheffield city centre closed for business?

That is the controversial claim of Next boss Simon Wolfson, who wanted to invest £10m in the city and create 125 jobs by siting a store on land next to the Meadowhall shopping centre.

It sounds too good an offer to refuse, but that is precisely what Sheffield’s planners did.

No wonder then, you might think, that Next are so angry.

But life is never as black and white as first appears, which is why we have some sympathy with the council’s stance.

The development of the city centre is at a fragile stage. Will Sevenstone’s retail quarter plans progress? Will the Moor’s revamp prove a success?

If either project is to work, it will not be helped by even stiffer competition from Meadowhall.

We are optimistic about the Moor’s future, but the problem for the council is, nobody can offer any guarantees on Sevenstone, which seems to have been the case for years.

So where do we go from here?

The debate is aired on these pages and has drawn many views both for and against from our readers.

Our view is clear. We want a Next in Sheffield, because it is investment and jobs we cannot afford to turn away.

It is now up to the council and Next to work together to make this happen in a way which promotes the interests of both parties.

Devoted couple are inspirational

ON the face of it, Stan Padley’s story could be viewed as a tragic one.

As today’s Healthy Living feature reports, the 53-year-old former IT architect’s life changed forever when a routine hip operation went badly wrong, leaving him brain damaged, wheelchair bound and unable to speak.

His surgeon was also following the correct procedure at the time, meaning the reasons behind the surgical complications have never been fully explained.

But Mr Padley’s sheer determination to recover meant he soon moved back home, took his first steps and left the house independently on an electric wheelchair.

Mr Padley and his wife Kay are a moving example of a truly devoted couple, and his story is truly inspiring.

We wholeheartedly support his friends’ appeal to raise £50,000 to send Mr Padley to China for pioneering stem cell treatment which could enable him to talk again. It is of course a large sum - but if successful, the therapy would go some way to redressing the cruellest of misfortune.