In 1986, Bingham Cotterell was approached by Stadium Developments to design a new shopping mall. Not just any mall, but one of the largest in Europe.
Land to the west of Sheffield in a meander of the River Don had been chosen, with excellent access from the M1 motorway.
The site consisted of two former steel works, including Hadfield’s, which had closed during the UK’s shift to a more service-based economy. Sites like this were commonplace in the industrial heartlands of the North of England.
The developers had recently completed a smaller venture in neighbouring Rotherham that had been affected by an expansive slag, Periclase, and wanted their new site to be free of contamination. The decision proved significant as the shopping centre, opened circa 1988, was sold to new operators in 2001. The new operators did not want to inherit a contaminated site, which would have been the case if the site had been remediated only to the standards of the 1980s. This would not have met higher standards in 2000, possibly meaning additional post construction remediation. Great foresight or good fortune? You decide.
Nevertheless, the relatively low level of contaminants at the site were disposed off site and only modest residual slags remained in the bulk of the Made Ground. Foundations were designed to accommodate any potential expansion.
The Centre has thrived, and its popularity has spawned similar developments in Dusseldorf and the Peel Holdings (now Intu) Trafford Centre in Greater Manchester.