SHEFFIELD is being ‘left behind’ other cities after council chiefs turned down plans for an out-of-town Next store, readers of The Star claim.
Lord Simon Wolfson, boss of the retail giant, accused Sheffield Council of ‘closing its doors for business’ when launching an appeal over the refusal of planning permission for a homeware shop on waste land at Meadowhall.
He said the site would have been the largest Next Home store of its kind and created 125 jobs.
Last month the council rejected the plans, deciding the development could risk planned investment in the city centre on The Moor and in the planned Sevenstone retail quarter.
Some readers on The Star website branded the move ‘astonishing’ and ‘ludicrous’.
One wrote: “This is precisely why Sheffield will always remain a backwater while the likes of Leeds and Manchester race ahead economically.”
Another added: “It’s truly astonishing that Sheffield Council turned down a Next and a BMW garage near Meadowhall.
“No wonder Leeds and Manchester are doing so well while we are being left behind.”
Website poster KP Nut said: “We can all understand the need to get Sheffield city centre back on the map, it’s been a long time coming - and we are still waiting.
“But to deny growth in other areas of the city is ludicrous.”
Another reader said: “No Ikea, now no new Next. Any guarantees that Sevenstone will ever be built?
“And assuming it is, will the city centre’s limited number of car parks be able to cope with the flood of potential customers?”
Council chief executive John Mothersole said in The Star on Monday that “our policy shows that, for very good reasons, we are very concerned about further expansion of out-of-town retail at the present time, to ensure we protect efforts to secure the retail development the city centre badly needs”.
And some readers agreed with that view, as well as with the council’s decision which has been backed by Sheffield South East MP Clive Betts.
Reader MJB66 said: “I think Lord Wolfson is only thinking of himself here.
“The problem is that if Meadowhall expanded bigger than it already is, then not only will Sheffield city centre suffer more retail loss but also the nearby Rotherham centre would suffer a lot more too.
“You have to think about long-term investment, not only about the short term.”
And another website reader added: “Obviously the council is doing all it can to get the Sevenstone project moving and regenerate the city centre which is fair enough.”
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