Sheffield looks set to get its long-awaited Ikea at last - as planners say proposals for a £60m store in the city should be approved.
The massive shop, earmarked for the old Tinsley Wire site in Carbrook, would be a ‘considerable asset’ to Sheffield, boosting the local economy, providing 700 jobs and attracting extra visitors, according to a report to the council’s planning committee.
While officers admit the development will add to pollution, cause traffic congestion to worsen at busy times, and have a ‘marginal detrimental impact’ on city centre trade, the huge benefits of an Ikea have finally tipped the balance in the Swedish furniture giant’s favour.
The recommendation comes over a year after the original application was lodged – and more than a decade since Ikea’s initial plan for a store off the Parkway was rejected.
Business leaders have welcomed the planning officers’ decision.
Richard Wright, chief executive of Sheffield Chamber of Commerce, said: “This is good for the Sheffield City Region.
“It will help retain wealth in the city and attract even more from outside.”
But Ikea will have to comply with a raft of highways conditions before the shop opens, to meet traffic and environmental concerns.
A contribution of nearly £2 million will have to be made towards building the Tinsley Link Road, and £360,000 towards improvements on the northbound slip road of junction 34 on the M1.
The company has also offered funding of £1.5m for further highway works if journey time delays are ‘significantly worse than predicted’.
A park and ride facility with 167 spaces for cars will need to be provided, along with electric charging points for customers’ cars and screens providing visitors with information on pollution levels.
All home deliveries made from the store to the S1, S2, S3, S4 and S9 postcodes must be made by electric vehicles.
The report says: “The list of highway works is fairly extensive and will certainly provide some significant improvements.”
In total, 18 objections were received, including two from John Lewis, five from Meadowhall, and three from steel company Outokumpu.
John Lewis claims an Ikea would draw trade from the city centre, while Meadowhall – in favour ‘in principle’ – objects on traffic grounds. Environmental health campaigners have also lined up in opposition.
However, 160 representations were made in favour of the scheme, along with a petition signed by more than 500 people.
The report says: “In this instance, given the significant regeneration benefits, the employment and training benefits for the deprived Tinsley and Darnall communities, and the associated positive impacts on economic and social equality, the balance overall is in favour of the proposal.”
Councillors are expected to give the green light at a special meeting next Tuesday. If approved, the store could open next year.