Sheffield’s top industrialist has given his backing to plans for an Ikea store in the city.
Master Cutler Neil MacDonald said he believes that refusal of planning permission for the scheme could damage the city’s reputation.
Some members of Sheffield Council have ‘serious concerns’ about extra traffic and pollution, and loss of an industrial site.
Ikea wants to build the store on land formerly occupied by Tinsley Wire and Betafence, off Sheffield Road, Carbrook.
A planning application was submitted last week.
Mr MacDonald said: “I think we should let Ikea in. The store would be good news in terms of jobs and loss of the site for industry would not be a problem because we have a lot of vacant land.
“If we turn Ikea down again after previously recommending refusal some years ago which led to the company withdrawing a scheme, what message would we give out about whether Sheffield can attract big names?
“There are issues with Ikea around transport in particular but these can be dealt with.”
Mr MacDonald’s comments follow support for Ikea from Sheffield Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s executive director Richard Wright.
A public inquiry has been held after Next appealed. A decision will be made in the coming weeks.
Ikea’s plans have now been submitted to Sheffield Council. Ikea project manager Ian Nicholson said: “The response to our public consultation has been overwhelmingly positive, with 98 per cent of respondents supportive.
■ Visit www.sheffield.gov.uk/planning and search planning application 13/01682/FUL to comment on the planning application.