Thursday, November 10, 2016

News: How will Meadowhall's £300m leisure development affect Rotherham town centre?


Applicants behind plans for a £300m Leisure Hall at Meadowhall insist that it will not have any unacceptable trading effects on Rotherham town centre or cause any significant adverse impact on planned investment.

The retail destination at Meadowhall is 5 km from Sheffield city centre and 3 km from Rotherham town centre. British Land, joint owner of Meadowhall, has recently submitted plans for a proposed extension that forms part of a five-year vision to extend the leisure offer at the centre.

The plan comprises a 330,000 sq ft multi-level extension housed under a glazed roof on land currently used for car parking. Plans show leisure space to provide a range of other uses to meet the needs of a wide family group, including a new cinema (the existing Vue Cinema will close, and be changed to an alternative leisure use) plus space for food and drink outlets. A new foodstore and added retail units are also planned.

Due to the out-of-town location, the applicants are required to undertake a sequential test and impact studies in line with national planning policies.

Sequential tests ensure that development is located in the most sustainable location first (usually in town centres), before other, less sustainable locations are chosen. In this instance development sites in Sheffield, Rotherham and other town centres have been discounted. Forge Island, Drummond Street and the markets site in Rotherham have been discounted as being too small for the nature of development proposed.

The retail impact study shows that Sheffield is losing out to other areas such as Leeds, Manchester and Nottingham and that the redevelopment proposals for the city centre (SRQ) and Meadowhalll need to take place, "where it can be shown that neither undermine each other."

The study argues that: "neither the leisure, the food and beverage nor the retail components of the scheme will have any unacceptable trading effects on any of the established shopping centres. The impact of the scheme alone on the shopping centres are considered to be negligible, even on the worst case sensitivity test. Moreso, whilst there are a number of other commitments that in combination will affect the trading performance of shopping centres in the catchment of The Leisure Hall, the cumulative impacts are modest.

"As a consequence, there will be no significant adverse impact on the vitality and viability of any established shopping centre."

In terms of planned investments, the study argues that the scheme will not cause any significant adverse impact on that investment which is planned in Sheffield, Barnsley, Doncaster or Rotherham, adding that: "this is for a combination of reasons, including the different nature of the proposals, the different catchment areas (therefore lack of overlap of trade), prevailing market conditions and the nature of the planned investment."


Specifically on the impact to Rotherham, the plans estimate that the town will continue to improve its leisure and retail offer to deliver an improved experience to its more local catchment when compared to Meadowhall's broader offer.

It is estimated that the cumulative impact of the proposal and outstanding commitments will mean that trading in Rotherham town centre will be reduced by 4.2% in 2022.

The anticipated trading effects of the food and beverage part of the new Meadowhall scheme will see £1.08m (-2.4%) of trade away diverted away from Rotherham town centre in 2022. Comparatively, Sheffield is £9.96m (-2.6%), Barnsley is £1.6m (-2.7%) and Doncaster is £1.15m (-0.8%).

The anticipated impact of the proposal on the retail turnover of town centres sees £1.57m (-0.8%) of trade diverted away from Rotherham town centre in 2022. Comparatively, Sheffield is £15.60m (-1.7%), Barnsley is £2.23m (-1%) and Doncaster is £1.43m (-0.4%).

The plans add that as Rotherham town centre has no cinema or other family leisure uses, and that the evening economy is focused on pubs and clubs, "the impact on wider leisure uses will be very limited."
The plans go on to say that Meadowhall is hoping to rival the cinema development at nearby Centretainment and that "there is no evidence to suggest that the replacement cinema proposed will have any significant adverse impact on "town centre" cinemas or, importantly, any material impact on the vitality and viability of existing centres."

In terms of planned in centre investment in Rotherham, the applicants state that "we are not aware of any scheme coming forward that will be undermined by the proposal."

Regarding proposals for Forge Island, they are not considered as "committed investment that is contractually committed or subject to resolution" and are not included in the impact statement.

The plans state: "To date no cinema-led scheme has been advanced. Nevertheless, it is not considered that the new replacement cinema at Meadowhall, would undermine the future delivery of a cinema and associated food and beverage uses in this location should a scheme come forward.

"Critically, the cinema being proposed is to replace an existing cinema. Consequently, the market analysis undertaken as part of the preparation of the SPD that suggests potential interest in a cinema is Rotherham is in the context that a cinema already operates at Meadowhall and Valley Centertainment and will complement any future offer in Rotherham. Consequently, there is no contrary evidence to suggest this market demand will still exist."

Rotherham Council, who have a desire for a leisure development on Forge Island, will be consulted on the Meadowhall plans. Sheffield City Council is expected to make a decision in spring 2017.

Images: British Land


Mr me November 10, 2016 at 11:26 AM  

Rotherham council,should do what theyre supposed to do and stick up and protect tbe interests of Rotherham.They should appeal any planning application over the border.Throw a spanner in the works Shittfield have had there own way too long.

Anonymous,  November 10, 2016 at 12:12 PM  

An amusing question.....

That ship has long since sailed.

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