Meadowhall: Call for £3 parking charge at shopping mall to 'fund culture' in Sheffield city centre

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A radical proposal to end free parking at Meadowhall could raise millions for Sheffield city centre

Shoppers should pay £3 to park at Meadowhall to fund cultural events in Sheffield city centre, a regeneration expert says. Nalin Seneviratne believes fees from some of the 24m people who visit the megamall every year could pay to create cultural jobs and boost footfall in the city centre.

The scheme would create a “true partnership” between co-owner - British Land - and the city council and help them market Sheffield as one. And it would see Meadowhall “playing its part” in recognition of the “negative impact” it - and its 12,000 free parking spaces - have had on shopping in the city centre.

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Mr Seneviratne was director of city centre development at Sheffield City Council until 2021.

There are calls for motorists to pay to park at MeadowhallThere are calls for motorists to pay to park at Meadowhall
There are calls for motorists to pay to park at Meadowhall

He said: “If there was a modest charge for parking at Meadowhall and British Land put it into a fund for the city, it could pay for alternative activities in the city centre in culture and the arts.

“Meadowhall would remain the heart of retail and the city centre would be about everything else: arts, festivals, markets, concerts and cultural activities. It would be a really interesting combination and create a true partnership for Sheffield."

Mr Seneviratne said that while working for the city council he devised the £480m Heart of the City II scheme which is transforming Sheffield city centre. He also objected to a planned extension at Meadowhall which has since been scaled down and pushed back to 2029. And he put the parking charge proposal directly to British Land boss Simon Carter a few years ago.

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A spokesperson for Meadowhall said they had no plans to stop free parking. They added: “Supporting the development and continued success of both the city, and the wider region, has always been – and continues to be – one of our biggest priorities, and we always welcome new suggestions. While some ideas aren’t always feasible, we work in partnership with representatives across the city to promote and boost the area, encourage investment and generate economic growth.”

The centre has a cycle hub, with 120 secure spaces, six e-bike charging points, two bike repair and pump stations, and lockers to store helmets. It has 55 electric vehicle charging points for customers and a further six for colleagues. And it has spent £26m on the bus, tram and rail interchange at Meadowhall “actively promoting travel via these services.”