Council leader writes to IKEA after being ‘left in limbo’ over Lancing site

Monday, 7 March 2022 18:59

By Jessica Hubbard - Local Democracy Reporter

Neil Parkin, leader of Adur District Council, says the flat-pack giant has left the council ‘in limbo’ over its plans for the retail unit at the New Monks Farm development.

The company pulled out last summer in the midst of the pandemic, as it said shopping habits had changed.

It is now focusing on smaller stores and online retail. In his letter to IKEA board members, Mr Parkin wrote: “As I am sure you will recall, you made the decision not to proceed with a new IKEA store at Lancing, West Sussex, last summer.

“This was very disappointing news – the scheme would have represented a major boost to our local economy.

“A considerable amount of time and energy had been spent on dealing with a highly controversial planning application, ultimately approved by my district council colleagues on the planning committee, despite a well organised and vociferous campaign against the proposals.

“Since that time, the district council has been left in a state of limbo.”

Mr Parkin said it was ‘appalling’ that the council had not received any further information on the future of the site aside from ‘intermittent discussion with officers’.

But an IKEA spokesperson said the company would ‘remain in close contact’ with the council and ‘other key stakeholders’ once it begins marketing the land for sale.

Mr Parkin expressed concerns over IKEA’s marketing which he said could see the site ‘offered to the highest bidder, regardless of the proposed development’. He added that the council would not support a retail park, trade park, or ‘homogenous logistics shed’ and would ‘fight such proposals all the way’. During a full council meeting in February, Mr Parkin said: “They’re now putting out a development brief that we don’t agree with.

“There’s worse things than IKEA, trust me.”

An IKEA UK & Ireland spokesperson said: “The decision not to proceed with an IKEA store at the New Monks Farm site was not an easy decision to make; and while the site is no longer suitable for IKEA’s needs, we recognise that it remains a vital component in the successful delivery of the New Monks Farm development.

“Since we made the announcement, we have continued speaking to the relevant individuals at the council.”

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