Breaking: Sheffield Council approves £300 million Meadowhall extension

The proposed leisure hall extension to Meadowhall has been approved.
The proposed leisure hall extension to Meadowhall has been approved.
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Meadowhall's owners have been granted permission to build a £300 million extension to the Sheffield shopping centre.

Councillors today voted unanimously in favour of the development, which will contain new shops, restaurants, a cinema and other leisure uses.

The development will cost 300 million.

The development will cost 300 million.

Once it opens in 2021, the glass-roofed leisure hall should create more than 1,000 jobs.

Concerns had been raised about the impact on the city centre and nearby towns and shopping centres, as well as traffic and air quality.

There were 48 objections to the proposals, and two people spoke against the development at today's meeting.

Andrew Malley, of Dransfield Properties, said it should not be assumed that the city centre retail quarter would go ahead - something council officers made when assessing the economic impact - and the leisure hall could have a big impact on other areas.

More than 1,000 jobs should be created.

More than 1,000 jobs should be created.

He added: "This is the biggest decision you will have made since the original Meadowhall.

"For people who have lived her for many years, they understand the damage this has caused.

"The city centre development would generate more taxes for Sheffield than this ever will."

Green Party member Andrew Garbutt said the increase in air pollution would lead to more premature deaths.

He questioned whether the plans could be approved in the absence of a city-wide air quality strategy, adding: "This and many other developments in the east end need to have a neutral impact on traffic movements and air pollution.

"Can suitable conditions be applied to enable this?"

And Adil Mohammed, although speaking in support of the plans, asked whether some of the £250,000 set aside for an art project could be put towards improving the health of people in Tinsley.

Meadowhall centre director Darren Pearce told the committee that improvements to both city centre and out-of-town areas were needed to keep shoppers in Sheffield.

"By lifting the overall offer we can make sure all the assets work together to boost prosperity of the whole city and stop leakage to rivals such as Leeds and Manchester," he added.

Councillors questioned planning officers over the amount of retail in the leisure hall - an increase of five per cent across Meadowhall - and sought clarification from head of planning Rob Murfin and his staff on the methods used to determine air quality.

And despite the objections, members of the planning committee were satisfied that British Land, which co-owns Meadowhall with the Norwegian government's pension fund, had proven the benefits of the scheme.

Coun Joe Otten said it was a question of whether the city wanted Meadowhall to succeed or fail, 'with all that implies for taxes, jobs and everything else'.

Coun Zahira Naz, who represents the Darnall ward, said a lot of residents there worked at the shopping centre and the extension would create more opportunities.

"I'm extremely pleased to see everyone working together to solve the traffic problems at junction 34 on the M1," she added.

Both British Land and Ikea have pledged £15 million each to try to cut congestion.

And Coun Jack Clarkson said: "It will continue to bring people to Sheffield and we should be proud."