Sussex's first IKEA store gets Greenlight

Eighteen months after the plans were initially proposed, the planning committee at Adur District Council has approved a scheme to build an IKEA store and 600 new homes at New Monks Farm in Lancing.

ikea store

Initial Objections and Concerns

Initial talks at a four-hour planning meeting resulted in the deferral of the plans. A variety of objections were raised by a group of more than 400 local residents and it was decided that the plans did not include sufficient protection for the surrounding historic and natural environment.

James Appleton, the Chief Planning Officer for the council explained the details of the proposal for more than an hour and members of a variety of action groups, including the Shoreham Society, voiced their concerns in response.

The many benefits of the proposals were discussed with enthusiasm, with IKEA consultant Serena Paige emphasising that the new IKEA store would create approximately 800 jobs, all paying the living wage. Councillors also welcomed the fact that around 60% of the 600 new homes would be let by the council.

An objection from Lancing College, which was raised by Mark Milling, ultimately proved to be one of the primary stumbling blocks as the College wanted assurance that the new roundabout would provide it with its own access road. Lawful reasons for refusing the application became unclear to councillors, which led to Cllr Steve Chip putting forward a motion to defer the application. This motion was backed 4 to 3.

Following this decision, the Real Estate Manager for IKEA UK and Ireland, Tim Farlam, reacted by saying, “we are disappointed with the decision as the proposal met all national and local planning guidelines. We will now discuss the decision with New Monks Farm Development to consider our next steps.

Getting the Greenlight

When Lancing College reached an agreement to secure an access road to the college following the completion of the construction, its objections to the plans were withdrawn. This undoubtedly played a significant role in the planning committee’s decision to greenlight the plans, which was a decision that was met with both positivity and concern from various parties.

Shortly after plans eventually passed the planning committee, the MP for East Worthing and Shoreham, Tim Loughton, voiced his disappointment and asked the Government to review the plans after his constituents raised concerns about the potential effects it could have on congestion and traffic on the A27.

Vowing to keep up the fight, Loughton called on James Brokenshire, the Secretary of State for local government to look closely at the plans, stating in a video posted on his Facebook page that “I am concerned about the estimated two million customers arriving, mostly by road, every year. This will cause massive problems to the A27 and the traffic roaring past me in the video will come to an end and we’ll be left with gridlock.”

Despite all concerns, however, the Government has decided not to call in the application. The green lighting of this scheme has been welcomed by many, including Neil Parkin who is the leader of Adur District Council.

Upon receiving notification from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, Neil Parkin said, “I very much welcome this decision from the Government which gives certainty to the developer while also providing a massive shot in the arm for our local economy.” Parkin also went on to emphasise that the £150 million investment will see the creation of hundreds of jobs and homes, together with valuable and much-needed community spaces.

Details of the New Monks Farm Development

The New Monks Farm Development, which is a subsidiary of Brighton & Hove Albion FC, includes a country park, land for a community hub and school and the provision of a new roundabout to assuage traffic concerns. The land in question sits between Lancing and Shoreham and borders Shoreham Airport and the A27.

Of the 600 new homes, 30% will be affordable and more than 100 families from the housing waiting list in Adur will have the opportunity to move into a new property on the development. There are still concerns held by some, however, including the chair of Lancing parish council, Gloria Eveleigh who fears that local Lancing residents will not be able to afford to purchase homes on the development.

The benefits appear to outweigh concerns, however, with Martin Perry, a representative of Brighton and Hove Albion, highlighting that Shoreham Airport’s future has now been secured. As it is currently in administration, news that new access routes and drainage solutions will be constructed has been a huge relief for many.