Residents have thrown their weight behind plans for a huge Ikea store to be built in Sheffield.
The leading furniture and homeware retailer yesterday launched its public consultation into its plans for a 37,000 sq metre store in the city.
The Swedish giant, which revealed its plans exclusively in The Star last week, wants to build the store on the former Tinsley Wire and BetaFence site on Sheffield Road, next to Meadowhall Retail Park.
And residents, who flocked to the public consultation event at the Millennium Gallery in the city centre, have given it their support.
Amy Knight, aged 29, of Millhouses, Sheffield, said: “I think it is a fantastic idea in a great location near Meadowhall, as there is no where in town to get Ikea-style furniture.
“However, I know it will make the road very busy.”
Catherine Gardener, of Ecclesall, said: “Any thing that brings in jobs is a plus in these difficult times.”
Ikea say the £60 million development would create up to 700 jobs, including 200 construction positions building it, 400 in-store roles plus another 75 to 100 jobs in external support positions such as maintenance and a creche.
As well as the retail space, the store would include a children’s play area, restaurant and 1,000 car parking spaces.
Ian Nicholson, Ikea Sheffield project manager, said: “We have had a good amount of people giving us positive feedback.
“The people of Sheffield are really behind Ikea coming and they would like to see the regeneration of the area which is currently derelict.
“We believe that we have a lot to bring to Sheffield and people have been incredibly positive about it.”
However, Sheffield Council is understood to be concerned about the amount of traffic the new store might cause.
Ikea’s planned site is close to where fashion chain Next was refused planning permission for a £10 million home and garden store last year.
Sheffield Council rejected its plan due to fears it would impact on businesses in the city centre.
Next is currently appealing against the decision.
Clive Betts, Labour MP for Sheffield South East, said planners needed to be ‘careful’ when assessing the knock-on effect a new Ikea store would have on traffic.
Reacting to the worries around congestion, Mr Nicholson said: “People are aware of the issues around transport, but there are a number of buses that stop adjacent to the proposed site as well as a tram stop.
“People are aware Ikea opens later in the day, at 10am, so it won’t impact on the morning rush-hour.”
The company said it will work with the Council and the Highways Agency on ways to keep traffic moving during busy periods.
The Millennium Gallery event was continuing in the Arundel Room today, from 10am to 5pm, before a further event at Tinsley Community Centre, off Bawtry Road, on Monday, between 3pm and 7.30pm, before the firm submits a planning application for the store.