British Land gives an update on £150m Meadowhall extension amid fears for its future

Meadowhall bosses say are ‘unable to give specific timeframes’ for a huge extension - amid fears for the future of the huge project.

Monday, 29th November 2021, 5:22 pm

A spokeswoman at co-owner British Land said only that they were ‘continuing to work with the council’ on the project.

HOW LONG IS IT SINCE THE EXTENSION WAS ANNOUNCED?

The extension has been downgraded and repeatedly delayed since it was announced in 2016.

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The giant Debenhams at Meadowhall is still empty.

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It started as a £300m scheme on the car park serving Debenhams and set to include restaurants, a cinema, café area, gym and outdoor terrace.

Planning permission was granted but it was shelved in 2019 due to uncertainty around Brexit and growing online sales.

WHY WAS THE EXTENSION DOWNGRADED?

The extension has been repeatedly delayed.

In June last year British Land announced a smaller, £150m extension with no cinema and ‘far less retail’ than previous proposals. It also said it wanted to convert its M1 distribution site off Vulcan Road into a leisure park with activities in warehouses - like nearby trampoline centre Jump - as well as an outdoor adventure area, to help it cope in post-Covid environment.

The project was also set to include new ‘big box’ shops selling outdoor equipment, sports and homeware near the Next Home store to the south of the shopping centre.

Earlier this year the mega-mall lost three large stores: Debenhams, a combined TopShop and TopMan and a Miss Selfridge.

WHY DID SHEFFIELD CITY COUNCIL OBJECT AFTER FOUR YEARS?

But the company insisted the extension was still happening - and Sheffield City Council was sufficiently worried about its scale to officially object, claiming it would create ‘a gross oversupply’ of leisure and damage the city centre.

Then in June it announced a move into warehousing as online sales cotinue to soar. Last week it confirmed it wanted to use 13-acres to the south of the site for logistics. A full planning application is due before the end of March.

WHAT IS HAPPENING WITH DEBENHAMS AT MEADOWHALL?

Meanwhile, the three stores remain empty, despite British Land saying in September there was ‘encouraging interest’ in them.

Asked for an update on the extension, a spokeswoman said: “We are continuing to work with the council on our plans but are unable give specific timeframes at this stage.”

British Land reported a £1bn loss in May - its third straight year of losses. But it returned to half-year profit in the six months to September 30.

BL co-owns Meadowhall with Norges Bank Investment Management.

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