Sheffield Chamber supports £150million expansion at 'hugely important' Meadowhall
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The business organisation has welcomed the bid to significantly expand the site with a leisure hall.
Rotherham Council has objected saying it would harm its ‘fragile’ town centre.
But Tom Sutton, head of policy and representation at Sheffield Chamber, said: “Sheffield Chamber welcomes the initial proposals for the extension because Meadowhall is one of our region’s most important assets and employs thousands of local people.
“Meadowhall is thirty years old and like any business must keep up with the times by responding to changes in how people like to shop and spend their leisure time.
"Ensuring the centre remains popular now and in the future is hugely important to our local economy.”
Planning permission for a £300m leisure hall was granted in 2018. But it was pulled early in 2020 due to the pandemic.
British Land submitted a revised application at the end of 2020, with ambitions to bring each part to life separately, in a “phased approach”.
Although smaller than the previous scheme, it will ‘deliver the same amount of quality leisure space and include a new aspirational food and drink offer’.
Bosses at Rotherham Council have called for tests to assess the impact on Rotherham’s ‘fragile’ town centre.
Coun Denise Lelliott, cabinet member for jobs and the local economy, said they recognised Meadowhall was a ‘significant employer’ of local people but had to know how the extension would affect planned investment in the Forge Island site and in retail and leisure across the town centre.
The leisure hall plan includes converting the 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.
The project also proposes new ‘big box’ shops selling outdoor equipment, sports and homeware near the Next Home store to the south of the shopping centre off Sheffield Road. And the existing Vue cinema would be expanded and modernised.
It has been estimated that development would support the creation of up to 1,560 jobs and pump up to £71.5m GVA into the region's economy.
Sheffield councillors and officers cannot comment on the scheme until it comes to the planning board.