HOW HAS SHEFFIELD CITY CENTRE CHANGED SINCE THE DEVELOPMENT
OF MEADOWHALL ?
This was a document produced as part of the EU funded Ecoschool
project which involved schools in the UK and Finland exchanging information. The
pages are still available on the Internet, but the hyperlink is unreliable.
Thanks to David Owen of
Sheffield Hallam University for permission to use this material.
Meadowhall out of town shopping centre
in Sheffield was opened on the 4th of September
1990. It is situated three miles North East of Sheffield
in the county of South Yorkshire. This site is an ideal location as it has a
catchment area of nine other cities all within an hours drive of
Meadowhall. These cities are: Leeds, Nottingham,
Wakefield, Manchester, Hull, Leicester, Barnsley, Doncaster and Rotherham. Since
the opening of Meadowhall there have been 19.8
million visitors in the first year, 22.2 million in year two, 24.7 in year
three, 27.5 million in year four,levelling out at around 30 million in the
fifth, sixth and seventh years.
WHY HAVE LARGE SHOPPING CENTRES DEVELOPED ON THE EDGES OF
Since 1980 the most important change in retailing in Britain
that has occurred has been the rapid growth of out of town shopping centres.
During this time it has been estimated that four fifths of all new shopping
floor space has been on out of town sites. The first large regional shopping
centre to be developed was the Metro Centre in Gateshead, since a number of other
out of town shopping centres have been opened including
Meadowhall in Sheffield. There are a number of
reasons why these out of town shopping centres are built on such locations and
it is important that teachers and children are aware of these when looking at
- They are ideally on a motorway interchange and near
main roads which makes the delivery of goods easier and gives access to
shoppers from several large urban areas. This also allows closer links with
retailers selling similar goods.
- There is plenty of open space for large car parks. Such
centres aim to attract motorists as there are no parking problems or traffic
congestion as there is in the city centre.
- As land values are lower than those in the
C.B.D then so too are the rates and rent which
shop owners have to pay. This allows individual shops to use large areas of
floor space and so keep the price of their goods down. Being so large, shops
can stock a large volume and a wider range of goods.
- Unlike in the city centre there is plenty of space for
possible future expansion.
- They are near suburban housing estates which
a workforce, especially as many employees are female, work part-time and have
to work late most evenings.
PREPARATIONS MADE IN THE CITY CENTRE, IN ANTICIPATION OF
We have gathered together relevant information from newspaper
articles published around the time of the opening of
Before Meadowhall opened, Sheffield
City Council began to prepare for the competition which its development would
create. Sub-committees investigated into how improvements could be made to combat
the immediate issues of litter, graffiti and the refurbishment of pedestrianised
areas. Parking facilities are also being improved and a special emphasis is
being given to security. A "City watch" scheme has been established which will
aim to reduce crime within the retail zone.
John Taylor, Chief Executive of the Cities Chamber of Trade
said, he did not see Meadowhall as a threat but as a
tremendous challenge for the city to meet. It is thought that a new type of
shopper will be attracted to Meadowhall so therefore
it will have a less than substantial impact upon the
city centre. Meadowhall will attract customers from
a wide catchment area who combine shopping with leisure and recreation.
Convenience shoppers will still continue to use the city centre.
EFFECTS Meadowhall HAS HAD ON
THE CITY CENTRE
Although great effects on the city centre were not expected,
changes can be seen from walking around the city centre . Shops have closed down
as they are attracted to new, cheaper and better locations in
Meadowhall. Some shops have also had to close as
takings have dropped by twenty five percent since the opening of
Meadowhall. Empty shops are targeted by graffiti and
therefore make the city centre less attractive. Due to this, new traders are not
attracted to the city centre and so the vicious circle continues.
AREAS THAT CAN BE COVERED IN THE NATIONAL CURRICULUM
PROGRAMME OF STUDY
- Use appropriate geographical vocabulary to describe and
interpret their surroundings.
- Undertake fieldwork.
- Make plans using scales, symbols and keys.
- Use secondary sources of evidence.
- Human features and environmental issues.
- How the features of localities influence the nature and
location of human activities within them.
- About recent changes in localities.
- How land is used in different ways
- The issues that arise from the way that land is used.
These are all areas of study which are suggested in the
Meadowhall resource package and are relevant to the
National Curriculum. We have chosen to plan activites for Key Stage two children
as we feel that the issue of shopping centres developing on out-of-town
locations is more suitable for the year six age group. The geographical concepts
that can be covered within this area of study are:
- HUMAN PROCESSES - How and why are shopping habits changing?
- LOCATION - What factors influenced
- PLACE - Which features of the shopping centre attract
- PATTERN - Which factors have remained the same in the city
centre and what has changed since the development of
- SIMILARITY AND DIFFERENCE - Is this an issue in a distant
The following suggestion is a planning checklist for all
- What do you want the children to learn? Appropriate parts
of the programs of study should be selected to show learning outcomes (place,
themes and skills)
- What geographical questions will you and the children ask
so they will learn this in an active fashion.
- How will they learn it? Will they carry out an enquiry? Use
IT? Use maps? Do fieldwork? etc.
- How will you achieve differentiated learning? By task? By
resource? By the organisation and grouping of children? or by outcome?
- How will you know if they have learned what you have
selected in 1)? Will you base your assessment on written evidence? Graphical
evidence? Oral evidence? Or the products?
Fieldwork is using outdoor experience to reinforce learning in
the classroom by providing an environment to test out ideas and hypotheses, and
allowing pupils to extend their understanding of the real world. Fieldwork gives
pupils the opportunity, through a structured pathway, to become observant, to
develop skills of recording, analysis and deduction and, hopefully to develop
Before planning a fieldwork visit there are various health and
safety issues that must be considered. There are five stages to a good risk
assessment which, ideally, should be made not too long before the visit takes
- Identify the hazards which could occur at the location, e.g.
narrow pavements, large numbers of people, constant moving traffic.
- Decide what could happen as a result of the hazard and who
might be affected, e.g. pupils could be pushed off the pavement, there may be
difficulty in crossing the road.
- Evaluate the risks involved and decide whether or not the
precautions taken are sufficient or whether further ones are needed.
- Record and date your findings, and find out whether or not
there will be any significant changes for your visit.
- Review the risk assessment before a further visit is made.
As field work in this particular situation is part of an
enquiry, it is important for you as the teacher to plan ahead. The following
points are examples which you may wish to consider in planning your visit:
- What tasks will they be doing on site?
- How the pupils will be organised on site?
- What follow up work will be done in school after the visit?
POSSIBLE ACTIVITIES FOR YEAR SIX CHILDREN
When planning a fieldwork trip to any location it is necessary
for preparatory work to take place beforehand. These are possible activities
which you as the teacher could give to the children:
- List why you think people might travel to
Meadowhall rather than going to the city centre.
If you are stuck for ideas why not look at the
CLICK HERE FOR A
- Prepare questions which would be suitable to ask a shop
owner who is based in the city centre about how their business has been
affected by the development of Meadowhall. Your
teacher may invite a shop owner into school to talk to you but, if this is not
possible work in a pair to practice taking on the role yourselves.
- In small groups use your own experience of visiting
Meadowhall to list the advantages and
disadvantages that you found when shopping there.
- Discuss with your teacher the reasons for the location of
Meadowhall. On the map below five available sites
for shopping centres are marked. Rank the five sites in the order which you
think that the shopping centre will prefer. Give reasons for your answers.
- Working in small groups share ideas concerning how you are
expected to behave when outside the school. Remember you are representing the
school! Create a poster to show your ideas. You may like to think about
respect for others and your environment.
Why is it important to study distant places?
Studying distant places provides a great opportunity to make
the most of the children's natural curiousity about other people and places.
Catling (1995) identifies reasons for studying other places with children in
- It will develop their interest from their curiousity about
- It will give them the opportunities to explore ideas and
- The children will be able to develop their existing
knowledge and understanding of cultures and environments.
- Children can examine existing experiences.
- The children will gain spatial awareness on a global scale.
- It will show recognition of interdependence of the rest of
- The children will be gain spatial awareness on a global
- It will show positive attitudes about people around the
- It will show values of diversity of places.
- It will combat ignorance and help to avoid stereotyping.
When teaching Geography we are lucky as within a project we
are studying, we are able to slip into the role of being able to provide
opportunities and promote understanding when challenging ignorance or prejudice.
It is also important to remember that when studying distant places there is a
risk of presenting a misleading or biased picture and so it is important to try
and avoid this in any possible way.
It is important that when choosing a locality that the
children are able to compare and contrast it with their own locality, so it is
manageable to understand and easy to relate to.
Some good postings on Meadowhall at the Sheffield Forum.
Here's one I liked... I'll put a wider range of responses here soon:
+ grannies + slow walkers = HELL
shopping malls are available...
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