Plans for a new Ikea in Sheffield have been unanimously approved by councillors.
The £60m store will be built on the site of the old Tinsley Wire factory, off Sheffield Road.
Tinsley residents who oppose the scheme left this morning’s meeting when one councillor said he would be backing the plan.
One protester said: ‘You will be hearing from us.”
Residents pledged they would ‘fight and win’ against Ikea and called for an independent inquiry
Councillors heard the store would create 400 full-time and part-time jobs once open, with 80 associated posts and 200 in construction.
They asked if it was possible to recruit only people from a mile and a quarter radius of the new store.
But Tinsley residents hit back saying: “Who needs jobs when you will die early?”
The planning meeting had been told the decision must balance traffic and air quality concerns versus economic and regeneration benefits.
Councillors were told Client Earth believed approval would be ‘unlawful’ because it would lead to a breach of EU and UK laws on air quality.
Objector Neil Parry said the plan would ‘exacerbate health inequalities’ in Tinsley because of its impact on air quality
He said the council would dismiss representations from Client Earth against Ikea ‘at its peril’.
But the meeting was told customers were also expected to use tram, bus and train.
Director of Public Health Jeremy Wight said the plan would ‘undoubtedly’ cause more illness in the area if it went ahead.
He also said Ikea plan would ‘probably’ cause a small number of ‘additional premature deaths’.
Mr Wight said to a ‘partial extent’ the disadvantages would be counterbalanced by improvement in economy and jobs – but in his personal view the benefits did not outweigh the ‘disbenefits’ caused by impact on air quality.
Ikea said sequential testing showed there is no other viable potential site for the store.
Their representatives told the meeting: “This major investment will be a waymarker to other investors looking at Sheffield – it will be a catalyst”
Representatives for Outokumpo asked for the application to be deferred so further work on traffic impact can take place.
The meeting was told owners of Meadowhall had outstanding highways concerns – and the views of objectors have been ‘ignored’.
Tim Hale, Chair of Sheffield Chamber’s Transport Forum, welcomed the decision and said: “Sheffield Chamber has been a supporter of the Ikea application since its inception more than two years ago. We recognised there would be significant traffic and highway issues to be dealt with, but felt that it was of vital economic importance to overcome them, rather than to be overcome by them.
“There is so much happening in the Lower Don Valley area at the moment – the Bus Rapid Transit scheme, the new link road under the M1 Tinsley viaduct, the tram-train trial to Rotherham, the road changes at Junction 34 of the M1, the flood defence schemes, the redevelopment of Don Valley Stadium, Meadowhall’s continuing growth, and of course the still-unconfirmed plans for the High Speed Rail station. The Ikea development is just one more scheme to be dealt with.
“This new abundance of infrastructure and commercial developments in Sheffield is to be welcomed with open arms, they are the shot in the arm the city has needed for years, and we applaud the council’s decision in granting Ikea approval.”
Coun Leigh Bramall, Sheffield Council’s cabinet member for business, skills and development, said after the meeting: “We are delighted to welcome Ikea to Sheffield and I know that many people will be pleased that they will have a store located locally, rather than having to travel to Leeds or Nottingham.
“It is great news that will bring new jobs to the city and encourage more people to spend their money in Sheffield rather than elsewhere.
“This new store is a vote of confidence in our city and we have always said that we welcome an Ikea store coming to Sheffield. As there is an increasing amount of development in that part of the city, it was always important for us to work with Ikea to tackle issues such as increased congestion head on rather than leaving them to build up over the next few years.
“Now we have done that we have the prospect of an exciting development in the city and I look forward to welcoming another major retailer into the city and the boost it will bring to the local economy.”
* See The Star tomorrow for more reaction