Meadowhall congestion plan set for green light

30 July 2014

Plans designed to tackle congestion around Meadowhall Shopping Centre through the establishment of a permanent staff car park have been recommended for approval.

By creating the car park for a workforce which can rise to about 9,000 during the busy Christmas period, it is hoped congestion will be reduced and shoppers will be able to park closer to the centre's entrances.

Meadowhall is currently one of the most visited attractions in the Sheffield city region, but during seasonal peaks parking is increasingly becoming an issue, resulting in tailbacks onto the highway and the need to deploy overspill car parks.

However, redevelopment of plots currently used for overspill at busy times, including one site which will be home to a large Next Home, means the problem is set to intensify.

As a result MSC Property has sought approval for a large permanent car parking space for staff, contractors and coach visitors to Meadowhall on two sites which are dissected by Alsing Road. A total of 1,143 staff parking spaces are proposed, 234 for contractors and 33 coach berths.

Meadowhall has said it will operate an automatic number plate recognition system to identify staff not obeying the rules and repeat offenders will be potentially fined or clamped.

The new staff parking proposals will work alongside the travel plan in place and Meadowhall expect this to improve traffic flows and even to lead to a fall in trip numbers, reducing congestion within the centre and increasing the turnover of parking spaces.

Meadowhall has also advised that the centre's car parks are used unofficially for park and ride for workers travelling to the city centre and for the public attending events at the nearby Sheffield Arena.

The spaces released by staff moving out of the main car parks will allow more flexibility for Meadowhall to cater for event parking and the centre has said it will continue to work with Sheffield International Venues, the council's Urban Traffic Control section and the police in catering for events at the arena. However it is not intending to make provision for park and ride as part of its proposals.

In a report to be studied by councillors next week, the scheme is considered acceptable as it supports the employment uses within the shopping centre and will combat congestion and promote sustainable staff travel.

Reducing the number of days when shopping centre parking goes to overspill is also expected to ease congestion and the resources needed to manage this situation.

Planners also believe a more efficient car parking operation will provide the centre with more flexibility for arena events thereby reducing congestion and improving the visitor experience.