A new report showing the huge economic success of Meadowhall is proof that Sheffield’s HS2 station should be in the city centre, according to key players in the regeneration.
Released today, the report states that Meadowhall accounts for 18 per cent of business rates in the Sheffield City Region.
Commissioned by Meadowhall’s owners and carried out by professional services firm PwC, the report further claims that Meadowhall accounts for one job in every 100 and one penny in every pound spent in Sheffield.
It also found the shopping centre employs up to 8,500 people at peak times, has supported more than 660 apprentices over the past five years and provides 18 per cent of all business rates collected by Sheffield Council.
Chris Grigg, chief executive of British Land, joint owners of Meadowhall, said: “For the first time, Meadowhall’s positive impact and contribution have been independently quantified and the results are significant.
He said: “We are very proud of the contribution Meadowhall has made and will maintain this position as Sheffield grows, with Meadowhall playing a key role in the council’s exciting plans to ensure the city takes its rightful place at the heart of the Northern Powerhouse.”
But key players in the redevelopment of Sheffield city centre say the impressive figures prove that the city’s HS2 station should be in the city centre – rather than at Meadowhall.
Ranald Phillips, development manager for investors in The Moor, says the city centre has suffered as a result of Meadowhall’s success.
He said: “It is clear from the statistics that Meadowhall doesn’t need any more help, as it is already one of the most successful regional centres in the county.
“However, the city centre has suffered as a result of Meadowhall’s success and this has discouraged the long-term redevelopment of the city centre.”
He added: “I don’t think it would have any measurable effect on Meadowhall if HS2 were located in the city centre. But it would have a very detrimental effect on Sheffield city centre if it were to be located at Meadowhall.”
Jerry Cheung, the entrepreneur behind Sheffield’s ‘Chinatown’ redevelopment, says it would be the ‘icing on the cake’ for Meadowhall owners if the station were there.
He said: “As the fourth largest city in the UK, Sheffield city centre should be in line with Leeds and Manchester. Sheffield should have a centre that residents can be proud of.
“At the moment the city centre is not where it should be.”
He added: “If HS2 goes to Meadowhall it would be the icing on the cake for its owners. But if HS2 comes to Victoria, it would kick-off a revival. “I have lived in Sheffield for more than 40 years and I am passionate about the city.
“I just hope that HS2 comes to Sheffield city centre to build it up to what it could, and should, be.”
In 2003, in partnership with Sheffield Council, British Land set up The Source at Meadowhall, a national skills academy for retail.
The Source helps to build careers in retail by offering apprenticeships.
According to PwC, The Source generated a social return on investment of £53.4 million in 10 years, three times greater than the total invested.
Ann Cadman OBE, director of The Source Skills Academy, added: “It was clear from the start that Meadowhall would be a huge success and had the potential to change the lives of many local people for the better. 25 years later, just look at what Meadowhall contributes to our Sheffield City Region – one job in every 100 is supported by the centre, 1p in every £1 can be traced back to Meadowhall, and the team has built a strong reputation for working to make a positive local difference.
“As the findings of this report highlight, Meadowhall creates prosperity and opportunity for the Sheffield City Region, and its significance to Sheffield’s future generations should not be underestimated.”