Date set for debate on Sheffield Ikea plan

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A DECISION day is looming for controversial proposals to build a furniture superstore in South Yorkshire.

Sheffield Council’s planning and highways committee is set to debate plans for a new £60m IKEA store at a meeting next month, more than a year after the original application was submitted.

While the local authority is yet to release details of the agenda, the Swedish giant has been advised the date is June 3.

The decision has been hit by a number of delays amid concerns over pollution and its impact on the environment.

Plans for the store, which will be located near junction 34 of the M1, have also attracted a wave of criticism from the private sector. Out-of-town shopping mall Meadowhall is objecting on the grounds of traffic issues and John Lewis has argued it will lure shoppers away from the city centre.

But politicians have said IKEA’s promise to create 700 jobs is vital to the local economy.

Deputy Prime Minister and Sheffield Hallam MP Nick Clegg said: “The council stands to benefit from £2m in business rates every year.

“It is the right time to welcome someone like Ikea. We need a council that every minute of every hour of every day is thinking about opportunities to create employment in the city.”

IKEA has pledged to spend £400,00 on environmental schemes, including a tree planting programme, in a bid to quell fears over the impact on the local environment. It has also promised to refit up to 10 buses with technology to reduce the amount of harmful nitrogen oxides emitted from vehicles’ exhausts.

Ian Nicholson, IKEA Sheffield project manager, said: “We are continuing to work with Sheffield Council to enable them to support our application.”