Furniture giants ease residents concerns
BOSSES at the world's largest furniture centre have moved to safeguard concerns that they are getting cold feet over a move to Suffolk.Fears have been voiced over the future of a planned IKEA warehouse on the outskirts of Stanton, near Bury St Edmunds, putting a proposed 300 jobs in jeopardy.
BOSSES at the world's largest furniture centre have moved to safeguard concerns that they are getting cold feet over a move to Suffolk.
Fears have been voiced over the future of a planned IKEA warehouse on the outskirts of Stanton, near Bury St Edmunds, putting a proposed 300 jobs in jeopardy.
But the furniture giants yesterday said they were fully behind the move - six months after planning permission was given by St Edmundsbury Borough Council.
IKEA acquisitions manager Paul Jacobs said: "We don't have a start date yet but we are clearly still committed to a move to Suffolk.
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"The local authority reserved granting planning permission until we signed a Section 106 agreement.
"There was a lot of concern at the time over the impact the warehouse would have on the road network and the Section 106 was set up to offset the road obligations by the planning committee."
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Plans for the warehouse - almost three times the size of Stanstead Airport's terminal building - were met with widespread objections by campaigners who claimed an extra 300 lorries would use the A143 through neighbouring Great Barton.
But Mr Jacobs said once the concerns over the impact on the county's roads were overcome - including a full assessment of local traffic issues - they would push ahead with building work.
He also denied claims that the company were more interested in distributing via rail networks instead of road putting a dent in any plans to move to Stanton.
"Generally if we can use rail we do, but none of our distribution centres are rail connected," he said. "There is some movement by train in the UK but that is more between England and Scotland rather than between distribution centres. This is not a problem for us and this will not hold us back in our plans for Stanton."
One of the chief campaigners against the plans, Fred Rutherford, said he felt the company were just using Suffolk as an "option-only".
He said: "Although their plans have been approved, Stanton is such a small place for the mighty IKEA.
"I think they are just using the site as an option and it still might not even happen."