Spot of discord for mall steelworkers

Meadowhall.

Meadowhall.

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THEY have been high-profile residents of Meadowhall since the shopping and leisure complex opened 21 years ago.

Now the steelworkers are on the move, from a spot on the malls to one in the open air at an entrance to the building.

The bronze statue has become a focal point and meeting place since it was unveiled on Market Street in September 1990. Meadowhall managers say it will remain in a very busy location, next to a car park and the best-performing Next shop in the country.

But not everybody is happy with the switch.

Local MP Clive Betts says he cannot understand why it has been moved and is asking managers to think again.

The statue is valued by visitors to Meadowhall, he said. “People stand and look at the steelworkers and they have got used to them there. People say they will meet by the steelmen. It’s a focal point. I don’t know why they have moved them. I am asking Meadowhall to reconsider.”

Mr Betts underlined the link between Meadowhall and steel: “Meadowhall is part of the new Sheffield and was one of the first schemes built after the collapse of the steel and engineering in the 1980s.

“It was a catalyst for the regeneration of the Lower Don Valley and it is important to recognise it was built on the old Hatfields steelworks in a valley with a history of steel.”

Meadowhall managers say they are looking to create more space where the steelworkers used to stand so that more events could be staged on the malls. They insist the steelworkers have gone to a prominent location.

A spokesperson said: “During August 2011, Meadowhall’s iconic bronze statues will be moved to one of the centre’s busiest locations, outside Next. This is in line with the ongoing construction work and changes within the centre.

“As one of the highest footfall areas in Meadowhall, this will ensure the statues remain a focal point within the centre. “

The statue was created by Robin Bell and depicts a steel teemer at work. It was unvield by a real-life teemer, George Dalton.

lMeadowhall has launched the centre’s retail awards to celebrate the successes of its 280 UK and international brands. The awards will be voted for on the Meadowhall website and by voting forms available in the centre.

The awards ceremony will be at the Mercure Sheffield St Paul’s Hotel on October 16.