Ikea has finally completed the purchase of the land earmarked for its £60 million new store in Sheffield - but an opening date still seems a distant prospect.
The Swedish furniture and homeware retailer first revealed plans to build the store on the former Tinsley Wire site, next to Meadowhall Retail Park in Carbrook, in April 2013, with the intention of having it built and open by next year.
However, discussions over highway works and pollution concerns delayed progress.
The proposals were granted conditional planning permission by Sheffield Council last June, before Communities Secretary Eric Pickles backed the scheme two months later.
Ikea has now completed the purchase of the derelict site off Sheffield Road and is working on ‘detailed designs’ for the 37,000 sq ft store.
Legal agreements were signed off earlier this year, and the deadline passed for protesters to launch a judicial review, meaning there are no legal obstacles in the way of construction starting.
Environmental lawyers and campaigners had vowed to start a review on the basis that the store would increase pollution in an area where air quality is already poor.
An Ikea spokeswoman said: “We are pleased to have recently completed the purchase of the site for the Ikea Sheffield store, having finalised the legal process with Sheffield City Council earlier this year.
“We will now go into an internal phase where we will begin developing our detailed designs for the store and its operations. At this stage it is still too early to say when the store will open.”
It is hoped the development could create up to 700 jobs, with 300 on the construction phase and 400 full and part-time roles in store.
Plans for the site envisage a two-storey store built over a 1,000-space surface car parking area.
It will also include a restaurant and children’s play areas and associated highways works.
Ikea must satisfy a raft of conditions relating to the impact on junction 34 of the M1 before the store can open its doors.
An upgrade is proposed to the ‘merge’ onto the northbound slip road, as well as the north and southbound roundabouts.
Nearby roads will also be widened and junctions improved to accommodate the extra traffic.