Sheffield Council leader Julie Dore today stressed the authority wants an Ikea store in the city – but that the plans must be ‘absolutely right’.
She spoke out after recent criticisms about delays in making a decision on the home furnishing giant’s application for the old Tinsley Wire site in Carbrook, which is now expected to be made on June 24.
Coun Dore said she did not want Sheffield people heading to Leeds and Nottingham to spend their money.
The Ikea bid was submitted last May and there have been concerns about the massive impact on highways because of the increase in traffic as well as air quality.
Initially, there were objections from other retailers and the Highways Agency, although most of these have now been withdrawn.
But Coun Dore said planners had been working tirelessly to scrutinise every element of the proposal and resolve any issues.
She said: “We made it absolutely clear we wanted an Ikea in Sheffield for people, I don’t want people going to Nottingham or Leeds to spend their money, we want to attract people to Sheffield.
“If we had just approved it from day one, there could have been problems afterwards, and it is important to us that we get it absolutely right.
“We are a business friendly council, but it’s not business friendly to approve any application without considering the implications on the city’s road network and other businesses in the city and therefore the impact on the people of Sheffield.”
It is not yet known what recommendation will be made by planners for the application, which would create 700 jobs in a £60 scheme.
The Swedish firm has also said it would spend £400,000 on environmental schemes.
Meadowhall has also said that it would drop its objection if changes are made to roads near the proposed site.
Sheffield department store John Lewis has also objected.
There are now 270 public comments on the application on the council’s planning system, as well as more than 300 documents.