Supporters of plans for a massive Ikea store in Sheffield have launched an online petition urging council chiefs to back the project.
Meanwhile, property experts warned that refusal could cost Sheffield Council hundreds of thousands of pounds each year in business rates.
Ikea wants to build what would be its joint third-largest UK store on the former Tinsley Wire site at Sheffield Road, Carbrook.
But Sheffield Council and the Highways Agency, responsible for the M1, are understood to have ‘serious concerns’ about traffic.
James Blundell, who set up the petition on the council’s website, said: “I am not an employee or representative of Ikea, merely a person who works in Sheffield and is concerned that new jobs are created and the economy boosted.”
The Ikea store would create 500 jobs in store, plus 200 construction jobs.
Nick Riddle, chartered surveyor for Sheffield property firm ELR, said: “It would raise a substantial amount of business rates and the council would be able to keep half. It’s going to create hundreds of jobs in an area with a lot of derelict sites.
“I don’t understand why you would turn down such an opportunity.”
Mohammed Mahroof, of another Sheffield property firm, Mark Jenkinson, added: “Even on a very low valuation of the site, a 37,000 square metre store would bring in several hundred thousands of pounds in rates annually.”
Coun Shaffaq Mohammed, Liberal Democrat opposition leader on the council, said: “The business rates are the kind of funds that can be used to protect the services people care about most.
“There has been overwhelming support for the store to be built.”
Sheffield South East Labour MP Clive Betts said he was ‘in favour of Ikea’ but planners had to be ‘careful’ when assessing the traffic impact.
If granted permission, Ikea would also have to pay contributions for improvements in the area - most of which would be spent on highways but Mr Betts said leftover cash could also be used to help projects such as the redevelopment of the Don Valley Stadium site.
■ Visit E-Petitions to sign.