Councillors are set to decide on proposals for an Ikea store in Sheffield next month – more than a year after the application was submitted.
The first potential date Sheffield Council could debate the plans is Tuesday, June 3, but the authority could not confirm if the application would be on the agenda for that planning and highways committee.
But Ikea – which submitted its submitted its £60 million plans for a store on the old Tinsley Wire site, off Sheffield Road, in May 2013 – said it had been advised the committee date was June 3.
The Swedish firm has said 700 jobs would be created and it would spend £400,000 on environmental schemes such as green bus technology and planting new trees.
Sheffield Hallam MP Nick Clegg criticised the council for not acting earlier.
He said: “What other city would have a situation where an employer wants to create 700 jobs and the council says we want to think about it?
“We need a council that every minute of every hour of every day is thinking about opportunities to create employment in the city, because things are really starting to turn around.
“There are more people in employment than every before, and we’ve got the lowest number of young people not in employment, education or training.
“We’ve still got a way to go, but it is moving in the right direction, and that is the right time to welcome someone like Ikea.”
Meadowhall is objecting to Ikea’s application on traffic grounds, while John Lewis in Barker’s Pool claims it will draw trade away from the city centre.
The impact on roads due to the increase of traffic and the risk of worsening air pollution, in an area where levels exceed European limits, are also major issues for planners to consider.
Deputy Prim Minister Mr Clegg said the council would benefit from business rates of £2m a year if Ikea was approved.
He said there would be planning implications to consider, but added: “I think the question should be how do we make this work, not how do we find reasons why we shouldn’t.”
A council spokesman said the plans would go to committee at the ‘first opportunity’ and a date would be confirmed at the end of next week.
Ian Nicholson, IKEA Sheffield project manager, said: “We are continuing to work with Sheffield Council to enable them to support our application.”
He added: “We have recently been advised the council is intending to make a decision on whether to recommend our scheme for approval at a planning meeting on June 3.
“We look forward to the meeting and are hopeful of a positive decision.”