RESIDENTS in Sheffield are backing plans for a new £60 million Ikea store to be built in the city.
More than 1,000 people have had their say on the scheme at a series of public exhibitions about the project.
And Ikea, which wants to build the 37,000 sq metre store on derelict land next to Meadowhall Retail Park on Sheffield Road, said almost 100 per cent of comments were positive.
The company has been seeking views from the public ahead of submitting a planning application to Sheffield Council.
Public exhibitions have been held at the Millennium Galleries in the city centre, as well as at Tinsley Community Centre, while comments have also been invited via the project’s website at www.ikea.co.uk/sheffield.
But the plans have caused some controversy in nearby Tinsley, where residents are upset about air pollution from existing heavy traffic on the M1.
Neil Parry, of the Sheffield East End Quality of Life Initiative, said: “Health conditions associated with air pollution are significantly worse than the city average and Tinsley has the worst living environment in the city.”
Mr Parry said people living in the area are worried about the impact of extra traffic which could be created by having an Ikea store.
But Ikea bosses said they had received an overwhelmingly positive response.
Ian Nicholson, project manager, said: “We knew there would be a high level of interest in our plans, so are thrilled by the number of people who dropped in to give us their views.
“Many visitors told us they wanted to see the investment in Sheffield, wanted the job creation and they wanted to be able to shop at Ikea without travelling to Leeds or Nottingham.
“We believe the public consultation is an important part of our process and anyone that was unable to attend the public exhibitions is still able to send in their comments through our website.
“We really want to hear from as many people as possible to make sure our proposals are the best fit for Sheffield.”
Ikea hopes to submit a planning application in the coming months and, if approved, the store could be open within three years.
The project could create up to 700 jobs, including 200 on construction, 400 in store and up to 100 in associated positions such as maintenance and a créche.