Tuesday, July 16, 2013

News: No objections to new IKEA


Rotherham Council is unlikely to submit any objections to the proposed 37,000 sq m IKEA store at Meadowhall, Sheffield, subject to a number of conditions.

Plans were submitted in May 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.

The proposal is for a retail use in an out of centre location and so applicants have to explain why other preferred locations were not suitable, and that the proposed development will not have an detrimental impact on nearby town centres.

A number of locations were discounted in the long search for a site in the Sheffield area. This included the civic site in Rotherham town centre, discounted as it is currently being redeveloped to provide a new Tesco store. Forge Island, the site of the current Tesco store, was also discounted, as it is has been earmarked by the council as its preferred location for a new cinema and theatre.

In a council report, Rotherham planners agreed with the appraisal of the two Rotherham sites and added that neither of the sites are large enough to accommodate an IKEA of a flexible format.
The information supplied with the planning application identifies that, although a negligible amount, the proposed development will have a bigger percentage impact on Rotherham town centre than the centres of Sheffield, Barnsley and Doncaster, in terms of it drawing trade away.

Total draw trade to IKEA from the Rotherham study area is estimated at £350k, with a trade impact in 2018 of 0.47%. This compares to a total draw trade to IKEA from the Sheffield study area (including developments at Sevenstone, The Moor and Hutton Buildings) of £2.76m (0.28% in 2018). Barnsley (including the proposed Market & Peel Street schemes) has figures of £900k (0.22%) and Doncaster (including the proposed Civic and Cultural Quarter) has figures of £1.03m (0.23%).

However, the applicants admit that, as the goods on sale at IKEA are not comparable to goods usually on sale in town centres, it is likely that the proposal will draw the majority of its trade from other retail warehouses in out of centre retail parks such as Parkgate Shopping and Canklow Meadows in Rotherham and Crystal Peaks and Drakehouse Retail Park in Sheffield.

Planning officers in Rotherham agree with this and add "that the proposed development would have limited impact on Rotherham town centre given the limited range of furniture retailers within the centre."

The impact on the surrounding transport network is a major issue with Rotherham officers 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.

South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive (SYPTE) has asked for significant sums of money from the applicants to help support the surrounding bus and tram services and a contribution to the new Tinsley Link road and Bus Rapid Transit system that links Sheffield and Rotherham.

Conditions for Rotherham Council not objecting to the scheme, that will result in a net addition of 190 new jobs, also include the submission and approval of a Travel Plan for shoppers and staff, assurances that the impact of the development on air quality is acceptable and that a condition be attached to any permission to ensure that the development is occupied by one single operator and is not subdivided into smaller units at any time.

Members of the planning board at Rotherham Council will discuss the plans and decide whether to submit an objection at a meeting this week.

IKEA website

Images: IKEA


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