Mystery over IKEA warehouse work

FURNITURE giant IKEA's plans to build a massive furniture warehouse in Suffolk have still not materialised – six months after planning permission for the complex was granted.

FURNITURE giant IKEA's plans to build a massive furniture warehouse in Suffolk have still not materialised - six months after planning permission for the complex was granted.

The new structure would be almost three times the size of Stansted Airport's terminal building, but there is still no sign of work beginning on the site in Stanton, near Bury St Edmunds.

Councillors and residents last night claimed its future appeared to be in the balance, while nobody from the firm was available for comment.

The plans sparked a widespread campaign to reject the plans with protestors claming an extra 300 lorries would use the A143 through neighbouring Great Barton.


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Fred Rutherford, one of the chief campaigners, said: "I have always thought IKEA were just hoping to have their plans approved and maintain the Stanton site as an option only.

"The fact is they did not seem to be in any hurry while negotiations were going on. They were quite happy for the council and various sub committees to raise issues and let time take care of them rather than push their plans through. This is hardly an action of a company keen to get started."

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He added: "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."

No one was available for comment from the company yesterday and borough councillors were also unable to shed light on the plans, which would include a new roundabout to take HGVs out of Stanton.

Jim Thorndyke said he believed a delay had been caused while the company carried out the conditions attached to St Edmundsbury Borough Council's planning approval - including a full assessment of traffic concerns.

"The longer the whole thing goes on, the more concerned I get," Mr Thorndyke said. "The whole issue is certainly dragging its heels and at the moment, everything is in bits and pieces."

Fellow borough councillor Margaret Horbury said: "I haven't been told anything about the plans, I don't know what is going on.

"I have been told Ikea are rethinking distribution using rail rather than road. It is all up in the air and I am not sure whether they going to move here or not."

A spokeswoman for St Edmundsbury Borough Council said although councillors approved an application in October, planning permission would not be granted until the recommendations they had made to IKEA had been carried out.

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