Shoppers reacted with delight to news Sheffield will get its long-awaited Ikea store – after the plans passed their final hurdle.
Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles, who has the final say on the £60m scheme, said he is satisfied with the decision of Sheffield Council to let Ikea go ahead.
The store in Tinsley was approved by the council’s planning committee in June, more than a year after the original application for planning permission was submitted in May 2013.
But the final go-ahead for the site of the old Tinsley Wire factory, off Sheffield Road, was then delayed for over a month as Mr Pickles considered whether to ‘call in’ the decision for further assessment.
The scheme has now been approved – and shoppers could flood through the doors by 2016.
Star reader Holly Dixon said on Facebook: “Finally, it should have been sorted a long time ago.”
And Angela Bates said: “About time! Don’t know why it took so long.”
In a letter sent to Sheffield Council today, Sara Lewis, planning casework manager for the Department of Communities and Local Government, said: “The Secretary of State has decided not to call in this application.
“The Secretary of State has carefully considered the case against call-in policy. The policy makes it clear the power to call in a case will be used only very selectively.
“The Government is committed to give more power to councils and communities to make their own decisions on planning issues, and believes planning decisions should be made at the local level where possible.”
Coun Leigh Bramall, the council’s cabinet member for business, said: “We are delighted to welcome Ikea to Sheffield. It’s great news for the city and I know many people will be pleased they will have a store locally, rather than having to travel to Leeds or Nottingham.”
The store is expected to create 400 full-time and part-time jobs once open, along with hundreds of construction jobs.
Concerns had been raised about the extra air pollution it will cause and Dr Jeremy Wight, the council’s director of public health, has said the store is likely to cause a number of extra premature deaths in the area by making air quality worse.
But councillors on the planning committee ruled the benefits outweigh the negatives.
They said the decision to put a new store in Sheffield represented a ‘vote of confidence’ in the city.
But Star reader Phil Grundy added a note of caution that it may be some time before the store is open.
He said on Facebook: “They haven’t finished the Reading one yet – two years so far – so don’t hold your breath.”