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Ikea gets council green light

IkeaSheffIkea's hopes of opening a store in Sheffield have moved a step closer after councillors unanimously supported the planning application for the £60m development.

Sheffield City Council councillors yesterday voted unanimously to approve Ikea's application for the Tinsley store, more than a decade after the chain first applied to build a store in the city. The council rejected the original Tinsley application last year.

A three hour meeting heard concerns over the impact on highways and on air quality in Tinsley, a resident calling for an inquiry and protesters walking out. However councillors ruled the benefits to employment and the economy - including up to 400 jobs in store, 80 associated posts, and 200 more during construction - outweighed the negatives.

The application still has to be approved by the Secretary of State before work can begin. Nick Clegg, deputy PM and Sheffield Hallam MP said the sooner the store is built, the sooner the council can benefit from new rules about keeping 50% of business rates generated locally. 'I'm delighted the pressure has paid off and, although it took well over a year, Ikea can finally get the ball rolling. There must be no further delays.'

Steve Pettyfer, Ikea UK deputy property manager welcomed the vote. 'The benefits for the people of Sheffield are quite simple - 400 jobs, investment in the city, a prevention of trade going elsewhere and, most importantly I think, it says Sheffield is open for business. It is very obvious the people of Sheffield today already go to Nottingham and Leeds to experience Ikea. So it is really the people of Sheffield who want Ikea in Sheffield – they are the reason we've come here.'