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Appeal over rejection of 10m Next Home & Garden development

An appeal has been lodged against Sheffield City Council's decision to rebuff plans for a flagship £10m store for Leicester-headquartered retailer Next on land close to the city's Meadowhall centre.

The Meadowhall appeal, filed by land owner British Land, argues the council's claim that the development would affect investor and retailer confidence in the city centre is wrong, as is the suggestion that there are preferable sites available.

The appeal claims that the proposed development would not cause "any material impact" on confidence and is therefore not contrary to Sheffield's core strategy policy.

It goes on to state that Next is committed to Sheffield city centre and the home and garden product range its Home store would sell is "entirely complementary to the fashion-led offer in Sheffield city centre".

Next's intention to base a new fashion-led store within the Sevenstone development is cited as a sign of the company's commitment to the city centre and of ongoing investor confidence.

In relation to the argument that there are more suitable sites, the appeal claims that only the Meadowhall location meets Next's requirements, especially considering the bulky goods the store would sell. Next, the document highlights, has an immediate requirement for a "flagship" Home store to be opened in 2013 and is not able to wait until a city centre site becomes available.

The original decision sparked a war of words with Next chief executive Lord Wolfson claiming the knockback of his company's plans, expected to create 125 jobs, smacked of Sheffield "closing its doors to business".

However, Sheffield City Council chief executive John Mothersole rejected his comments and said the city's policy on city centre and out-of-town developments were clear and there for a reason.

Source : Laurence Kilgannon – Insider Media

18 February 2013
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