Sheffield’s long-awaited Ikea store is scheduled to open in July 2017 - with construction work potentially starting within weeks, The Star can reveal.
A report by the company submitted to Sheffield Council has said it is hoped enabling work can start on the site in the next two months, with the store opening in July 2017.
The Swedish furniture giant has submitted planning applications relating to how the store will be constructed and road layout changes around the site of the store at the old Tinsley Wire site, near Meadowhall.
All of the applications are expected to be granted within the next few weeks - clearing the way for work to begin.
The company is not willing to officially confirm details of when construction work is planned to start until the approvals are granted but has previously said building work can begin once the road changes are approved.
But Ikea has announced work is to start on clearing vegetation from the vacant site in the next few weeks.
A similar new Ikea store in Reading was granted final approval for elements of its construction by West Berkshire Council in July 2015. Building work began in the same month and the store is now scheduled to open this summer.
In Sheffield, Ikea needs to get permission for the highways alterations both around the site of the store at the old factory site close to Meadowhall retail park and changes to deal with increased traffic around junction 34 of the M1 before construction work can start.
Newly-submitted highways plans propose changes to Tinsley roundabout that would include altering the position of traffic lights and introducing a proposed fourth lane before the turn-off on to Bawtry Road.
It is hoped construction of the 37,000 sq ft superstore on Lock House Road can begin once Sheffield Council approve the plans, with a decision due by May 3.
An Ikea spokesperson said: “In 2015 we finalised the legal process with Sheffield City Council and took ownership of the site for our new Ikea Sheffield store.
“We are currently working to discharge all the necessary planning conditions to allow a start on site and these applications are now being dealt with by the city council.
“It is still too early to say when we will be able to make a full start on site with construction work and therefore too early to say when the new store could open.
“However in order to maintain the site during this time, over the coming weeks, contractors will work on site to clear vegetation which has grown on the site during the planning process.”
An application for planning permission for the £60 million scheme was originally submitted in May 2013.
The store, which is expected to create up to 700 jobs, including 300 people being employed to build the premises, was given conditional planning permission by Sheffield Council in June 2014, before the Government gave the final go-ahead two months later.
A legal agreement was signed in 2015.
The plans show a two-storey store built over a 1,000-space surface car park.
It will also include a cafe and children’s play areas.
Ikea had been looking for a suitable location for a Sheffield store for more than 10 years, initially considering the old Yorkshire Electricity Board depot off the Parkway.
The nearest stores to the city that are currently open are in Nottingham and Leeds.