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About A Week: Meadowhell

Peter Hinchliffe does some brooding in Meadowhell shopping mall.

Yorkshire’s largest shopping mall, Meadowhall, bustles with bargain hunters on this Thursday afternoon.

Elder son Dave and I have stopped by for a coffee and a quick bite. Unlike the hundreds of folk clutching new-found “treasures’’ we’re not in the mood for shopping.

Credit crunch? Stock market woes? Money in short supply and unemployment rising? The Meadowhall mob shows no sign of being short of cash. For many of them a little piece of plastic is hiding a significant debt.

Meadowhall is often so crowded with folk eager to part with their money – or to increase the size of their debt – that it is now known to many as Meadowhell.

The large food court in this mall is known as the Oasis, and is said to be modelled on an Italian piazza. Is that the ghostly laughter of Michaelangelo and Leanardo da Vinci that I hear?

Meadowhall looks as the it was modelled by an eight-year-old using plastic kit bricks. Folk driven by the lust for new possession don’t linger to admire its exterior.

The mall was closed for almost a week last year when the nearby River Don overflowed its banks and flooded parts of the “shoppers’ paradise’’ to a depth of six feet, Some environmentally aware locals wished it had been washed away.

In a world that is overheating, on a planet whose raw materials are being pillaged to extinction, today’s shopping malls will one day be seen for the follies they are.

Architecturally they are not fit to serve as the boot soles of St Paul's Cathedral, The Parthenon, the Pyramids...

Maybe one mall should be preserved into the future. It could be called The Temple of Greed or The Folly of Man.

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