Friday, May 30, 2014

News: No objections to new IKEA plans

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Rotherham Council has reiterated that it has no objections to the proposed 37,000 sq m IKEA store at Meadowhall, Sheffield, subject to a number of conditions.

Plans were submitted in May 2013 for a new £60m furniture store with a restaurant and bistro plus a 1,000 space car park on the former Betafence site located off Sheffield Road, next to the Meadowhall Retail Park.

Rotherham Council has been consulted due to the close proximity of the application site to the Rotherham Borough. The main issues with the proposal affecting Rotherham would include the impact on Rotherham town centre; on traffic levels within the borough and the impact on air quality. It responded to the courtesy consultation last July.

Additional information regarding the traffic issues and air quality has now been submitted and Sheffield Council has re-consulted on the application.

The impact on the surrounding transport network is a major issue but the report states that: "The proposal is unlikely to have a major impact on Rotherham." However, Rotherham officers are asking that all traffic to and from the M1 to the development be directed from Junction 34 so as not to exacerbate the significant pressure around Junction 33.

The Highways Agency has not raised any objection to the proposed development and it will be up to Sheffield Council to decide regarding the impact on the local network. IKEA is proposing improvements to M1 J34 (North) including an upgrade to the "merge" onto the northbound on-slip, a mitigation scheme at the M1 J34 (North) roundabout and a mitigation scheme at the M1 J34 (South) roundabout.

It has also been agreed between the applicants and Sheffield Council that a number of works are required to the local highway network to accommodate the development. These include widening nearby roads and improving junctions. The developers are also set to provide a financial contribution to the funding of the Tinsley Link, part of the new Bus Rapid Transit system that links Sheffield and Rotherham.

Mainly due to the busy stretch of the M1, the Don Valley currently suffers significant noise and air quality issues and in some areas adjacent to the strategic road network levels already meet or exceed EU limits.

An assessment of the air quality implications by the applicants concludes that "future levels of air pollution in the vicinity are, for the most part, independent of the operation of the store" and that the impact on pollution levels "are largely negligible with, at worst, slight adverse impacts at a limited number of roadside properties."

IKEA is proposing that a sum of £400,000 be made available to assist with air pollution measures. This could include retro-fitting buses with low emission technology, tree planting, and trialling the use of "de-NOX" materials in road surfacing.

The Rotherham Council report concluded: "The development will not have any adverse impacts on Rotherham in transportation terms, provided that traffic is not directed to the site via Junction 33 of the M1; that the applicant submits a Travel Plan.

"Additionally, the air quality matters are to be addressed by Sheffield City Council Environmental Health Officers, who will require mitigation, if appropriate. It is therefore recommended that Sheffield City Council is advised the Rotherham has no objections to the proposed development subject to this."

IKEA website

Images: IKEA / Indigo Planning

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