City centre fears set to scupper Meadowhall owners’ retail scheme

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PLANS for a large retail scheme submitted by the owners of Sheffield’s Meadowhall shopping centre look set to be refused next week because of concerns about the impact on the city centre’s redevelopment.

British Land has applied to build a Next Home store and garden centre, BMW and Mini car dealership and Costa Coffee drive-through café, one of the first in the country, on an overspill car park off Meadowhall Way.

But the idea has sparked objections from Scottish Widows Investment Partnership, which owns The Moor in Sheffield city centre and is investing tens of millions of pounds on the run-down shopping area.

Barnsley Council has also objected on the basis the catchment area for the proposal has not been properly defined, and says planners should also consider the impact on the Barnsley Markets scheme.

In a report to councillors on Sheffield Council’s city centre, south and east planning board, which meets today, officers recommend the scheme is rejected.

They say: “It is considered that this proposal will have a harmful impact on investor and retailer confidence in planned investment in the city centre.

“We are also concerned that allowing the proposal would create a precedent... and would send a signal that, in Sheffield, Meadowhall was the place for retail expansion.”

British Land believes the site can be used to sell bulky goods without damaging the prospects of the city centre.

In a statement to the planning board, Scottish Widows said: “The proposals could undermine investor confidence as there is no absolute commitment to the city centre by Next.”