BUSINESS leaders have not given up hope that IKEA will open a store in Doncaster, even though they have just announced plans for one in Sheffield.
IKEA has entered into discussions with Sheffield City Council over proposals for a £60 million scheme on a derelict industrial site on Sheffield Road, Tinsley, not far from Meadowhall.
Some years ago there was talk of the Swedish firm opening a store off White Rose Way, but it did not go ahead because of likely congestion on that route, which is now improved.
The new 37,000 sq m store would sell the full IKEA range of 9,500 products, and would create up to 400 jobs.
But the development is by no means guaranteed to go ahead because of fears it could affect the viability of the city centre.
The site in Sheffield is just across the road from where Next was controversially refused planning permission for a home and garden store last year, on the grounds of potential harm to the city centre and the planned Sevenstone retail quarter.
Dan Fell, deputy chief executive of Doncaster Chamber, believes IKEA could have a store in Doncaster as well as Sheffield.
“The leisure and retail sectors are important to the future of Doncaster and the broader City Region and, in these challenging times, any new investment into the region is welcome; in general terms increased development in Sheffield – and other parts of the region – is much more of an opportunity for Doncaster than it is a threat.
“Additionally, Sheffield and Doncaster tend to attract consumers from different parts of the country with Doncaster pulling in a lot of consumers and visitors from eastern parts of Yorkshire.
“It is not, therefore, unimaginable that a large retailer – like IKEA – would open premises in both Sheffield and Doncaster as they provide jumping off points into different markets.
“Both Manchester and Warrington have IKEA stores and those towns, like Sheffield and Doncaster, are only 20 miles apart.”