Eddie Healey, the Yorkshire businessman who founded the Meadowhall shopping centre, dies aged 83

Eddie Healey, the Yorkshire businessman who is best known for founding the Meadowhall shopping centre, has died at the age of 83.

Eddie Healey was best known for turning a piece of derelict land next to the M1 in Sheffield into Meadowhall shopping centre

Meadowhall’s success has provided a major long term economic boost for an area that had been badly affected by the closure of traditional industries in the 1980s and 1990s.

Meadowhall was derelict land when Mr Healey bought it with fellow developer Paul Sykes.

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The completed retail centre, which opened in 1990, was the largest shopping centre in the UK. It was sold to British Land for £1.17bn in 1999. Mr Healey made £420m from the sale.

Eddie Healey

With his brother Malcolm, Mr Healey worked with their father Stanley in the family painting and decorating supplies business and opened discount stores which became a big success.

After the stores were sold to MFI, he branched into property with the Meadowhall development and other ventures.

He went on to develop the £500m Centro in Oberhausen, Germany, Europe’s largest shopping centre.

He continued to live in East Yorkshire and gave generously to charities, preferring to shun publicity.

In 2019, Eddie and Malcolm Healey were estimated to have a combined fortune of £1.648bn, according to The Sunday Times Rich List.

Ironically, Eddie Healey almost hadn’t built a shopping centre in Sheffield at all. His plan had been to erect something called Retail World on the former Parkgate steelworks at Rotherham.

Meadowhall, meanwhile, was a rival development dreamed up by another wealthy developer, Paul Sykes. It was only when the two men joined forces that the centre we now recognise as Meadowhall came to be.

The initial tenants included Marks & Spencer, Debenhams, and C&A. It drew the punters from the start, with shoppers queuing for miles down the M1 to get in. It set the template for a host of other retail developments around the world.

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