The Meadowhall logo



Meadowhall is one of eight regional shopping centres that have been established since the late 1970's.  The regional shopping centres all have the following points in common.

  1. Purpose-built, with enclosed shopping malls.

  2. Large with around 100 000 m2 of retail floor area.

  3. Based on car-borne shopping with up to 10 000 free parking spaces.

  4. Dominated by comparison-goods shops and high-street 'brand name' shops, with one or two department stores as anchor stores.

  5. In direct competition with shops in the central areas of towns and cities.

  6. Regional shopping centres are event places - People go there for a day out because there are cafes, cinemas and restaurants as well as shops.

Meadowhall on the eastern outskirts of Sheffield is a typical example of a regional shopping centre.  In the following images we try to highlight the economic and social impacts of regional shopping centres

Spacious pedestrian areas.


Meadowhall has been carefully designed to provide easy access around the shops for all customers.  The wide, flat corridors linking shops are relatively free of obstacles and so Meadowhall attracts many disabled customers and families with young children, who find it easy to maneuver themselves around, unlike many traditional Central Business Districts (CBD's).



Important anchor stores


Anchor stores such as the House Of Fraser have increasingly re-located from Sheffield city centre to Meadowhall.  This has led to the deterioration of Sheffield city centre as many high street stores have closed.

Access to upper floors


Mark's and Spencer is another one of the nine anchor stores located at Meadowhall.  The anchor stores are located throughout Meadowhall and aim to attract large numbers of customers to visit all parts of Meadowhall.  The anchor stores also encourage new business to locate at Meadowhall.

Light and pleasant environment in the plaza areas.


Meadowhall has been specially designed to provide a 'pleasant' shopping experience and is more attractive than many older city centres, and is also perceived as being safer.  The malls are open, airy and light, and of course they are warm and dry.

Street cafe area


Meadowhall is not just a shopping centre but aims to take advantage of the growth of shopping as a leisure activity.  There are 'street cafe' areas throughout the centre.

Oasis fast-food zone

The Coca-Cola Oasis is a quick service restaurant and leisure area.  It includes 14 take-away food kiosks and is anchored by   McDonald's.  There are also 5 restaurants  and seating for 2 000 people. 

Social and leisure areas


Adding to the leisure atmosphere is the lively attraction of a 48 screen vidiwall which broadcasts 14 hours a day.

Entertainment zone

The new regional shopping centres have on-site leisure facilities.  At Meadowhall the 11 screen Warner Brothers cinema adds to the leisure experience and encourages more visitors.  Customers visit Meadowhall for a day out rather than just to do their shopping.

Tram link to the city centre9

One of the criticisms that was levelled at regional shopping centres like Meadowhall was that they favoured the car owning population at the expense of the elderly and non-car owning population who were unable to visit Meadowhall due to a lack of public transport.  Meadowhall is linked to other parts of Sheffield by a new, clean and fast 'supertram' system.

Passenger interchange


The designers of  Meadowhall  have ensured easy access for all customers.   It is next to the M1 and has a dedicated 'public transport interchange', combining bus, rail and supertram terminals, with links to neighbouring towns and cities. 

Large accessible car-parks11.

Meadowhall is an acknowledged success story and a particular strength is ease of access.  Cars have direct access from the M1 motorway, and there are more than 12,000 free car parking spaces.   Whilst Meadowhall has benefited  from the growth in car ownership, congested city centres with inadequate parking facilities are unable to compete and are losing customers to Meadowhall.


No one can deny that Meadowhall has achieved outstanding success as a regional shopping centre.  Meadowhall has had a very positive impact on the local economy by providing thousands of jobs locally. Some are employed directly in the shopping centre and others indirectly with firms who provide support to Meadowhall (like cleaners, shopfitters and delivery for example).  
However whilst there has been success at Meadowhall, there has also been a very negative knock-on effect in Sheffield city centre. There has been very noticeable economic decline in retailing and environment in Sheffield city centre.  There has also been a negative social impact especially to the elderly who often find the prospect of travelling out of town daunting and so are unable to benefit from the wide range of goods available.  Likewise the poorest people in the city are disadvantaged by the increased cost of getting to the shops.

Concern about the impact of large regional shopping centres like Meadowhall has led the government to restrict developments in the future.  Current policies mean that it is extremely unlikely that any new regional shopping centres will be built in the near future.

For additional information click the meadowhall website

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