Sheffield council has approved detailed plans for a £300m extension to Meadowhall in a bid to restore the mall’s position as the north of England’s top shopping destination. 

The local authority’s s chief executive John Mothersole told Built Environment Networking’s Sheffield Development Plans event, which took place in the city last month, that the council had approved what he described as the ‘biggest detailed planning application’ in its city’s history.  

“This is a town centre scale of investment that will put Meadowhall back to number one slot in super-region,” he said 

Mothersole also told the event that the pre-let last year of a 140,000 sq ft building to HSBC, which is due open in the first quarter of 2019, had supplied momentum to plans for the city’s Retail Quarter.  

Take up of grade A offices was ‘significantly higher’ than in recent years with strong demand for No 3 St Paul’s building, he said: “We don’t feel job is done on grade A offices but we’re making progress.”  

And Mothersole said that the council was confident that Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing District, located around the M1 corridor and already home to Boeing, sports car maker McLaren and Rolls Royce, was set to attract another big tenant.  

“It could become Europe’s largest innovation district for manufacturing. If we get one more big one, we will run out of land.” 

He also told the event that while student residential accommodation continued to generate significant cashflow for the city’s broader development pipeline, the council was keen to see much more new private rented sector and for sale housing.  

Claire Barber, head of Meadowhall at British Land, said the real estate giant’s investment in Meadowhall was its biggest since the out of town mall opened in the 1980s.  

She said the first phase of the project was a refurbishment of the existing shopping centre, which is due to be complete by the end of this month in time for the Christmas shopping season, will improve customers’ sight lines by stripping out balustrades.   

Barber said that the development would transform existing surface car parking space, which will be relocated into a multi-storey facility, into leisure space housing trampolining, ping pong and bowling facilities.  

She said that this new space would increase from 2 to 11% leisure’s share of Meadowhall’s total floorspace  

Barber also said the extension would deliver 190,000 sq ft of food and beverage, including cafes and full-service restaurants, which would account for 12% of Meadowhall compared to 8.8% currently.  

By contrast, she said that leisure and food & beverage account respectively for 11.6% and 10.5% of floorspace at the Trafford centre outside Manchester.  

“As a super-regional shopping destination, we are massively lagging behind where consumer spend is going, she said 

In addition, the redevelopment will result in the conversion of Meadowhall’s existing cinema with a new state of the art one with big screens.  

She said the work, which is due to be complete by the early 2020s, will create 500 jobs during the construction phase and 1,550 in the longer term.  

Neil Dickinson, chief operating officer of Peel Logistics, said that the company had submitted a hybrid application in the week before the event for a new 50,000 sq ft warehouse unit at northern end of its 850,000 ft warehouse park on the edge of city centre.  

He said that the unit the boasts the deep yards and long runways in demand from logistics occupiers, with 10% of the space earmarked for offices which can be fitted to their requirements.  

Matthew Allen, principal at Addington Capital, said the company was currently on-site with the £2m office to residential conversion using permitted development rights in the city, which is due to be completed in December this year.  

He also said that values in Sheffield were still trailing most larger UK cities, such as Leeds and Manchester, which meant that the city continued to offer relatively good value.