Shoppers from across South Yorkshire have welcomed a £300m extension to Meadowhall that will create 1,000 jobs in the region.
The plans for a new glass-covered leisure hall went on show at the Sheffield shopping centre today (Friday, June 3).
The centre’s joint owner, British Land, wants to create a 330,000sq ft leisure hall – covered in a giant lattice-like roof, which will include restaurants, a new cinema and space for all sorts of activities, from 10-pin bowling to indoor golf.
The project would be the single biggest investment in the Sheffield shopping complex since it opened 26 years ago.
By the end of the day more than 600 people had seen the plans. Among them was 68-year-old Trevor Morris, from North Anston, a retired steelworker who used to work at the old forge on the Meadowhall site.
“I think that Meadowhall is the best thing that’s happened to Sheffield,” he said. “It’s easy shopping, easily accessible and with free parking.
“You can get anything that you want.”
Trevor was impressed by the leisure hall plans. He said: “I think the extension is fantastic. Sheffield as a city is improving.”
Vanessa Fortune, 39, from Doncaster, was at Meadowhall with her family. She said: “The leisure hall is exciting, and it’s something I would use, especially now the kids are getting older.
“Parking is a big thing at Meadowhall. We come here because we can park and don’t have to worry about rushing back.
“But I think the extension will kill the city centre.”
Anthony and Nadiah Mouldycliffe, from Rotherham, also had positive things to say. Anthony, 44, said: “It’s getting a bit tired now, and Meadowhall does need something new. Something to drag people in now they’ve built something at Leeds, which is only 20 miles away.”
And his wife Nadiah, 46, who works at Marks and Spencer in Meadowhall, added: “I think the extension is brilliant. It’s just what we need.”
Carol Miller normally lives in Cyprus, but as a former Barnsley resident the 62-year-old is very familiar with Meadowhall.
“I’ve got grandchildren so I would visit more often if they built the extension. It looks lovely.”
Head of retail development for British Land Richard Wise said it was important to hear in person what customers wanted. He also emphasised the importance of promoting Sheffield as a whole.
“We really do believe that improving this and the city centre will claw back trade lost to Leeds and Manchester,” he said. “That’s the over-arching strategy.
“The other element is giving the customers what they are telling us they want.”
A planning application should be submitted this autumn. If it is approved, the leisure hall could be open in 2020.
The plans will be on display today and tomorrow. Visit www.meadowhall.co.uk for more.