Looks like Belfast will get Ireland’s first Ikea store.
Hain welcomed the decision, saying that “this is great news for Northern Ireland”. He also welcomed the opportunity to do some last minute shopping at the less-busy-than-Tesco-Knocknagoney next door Secret Sainsburys. (Not sure about that last bit.)
Expect queues to build up on the A2 approaching Holywood Exchange next November (2007) when the store is due to open.
Unlike some big firms who obfuscate the planning process, Ikea are being publicly praised for their transparency during the planning process. The NIO press release talks about
“the Planning Service and IKEA … engaging in constructive pre-application discussions on technical issues … investing time in advance on preparing a quality application … providing additional information as quickly as possible … IKEA contributed to a timely decision on the planning application.”
In fact, Ikea have had less luck in Dublin, where the original first store in Ireland was proposed. The Ballymun site is still embroiled in a planning inquiry that won’t resolve until next year.
And next time you want to erect a BoKlok, or add a loft extension “on 2 levels with ancillary facilities such as a crèche, restaurant, bistro, Swedish shop, support offices, customer service area and goods delivery area” along with a new “multi-storey car park and surface level car parking, 12 coach parking spaces and a coach drop off / pick up point” in your front driveway, make an early appointment with your local planning officer and it’ll be smooth all the way!
If you're looking for a job, Ikea Belfast are recruiting (summer 2007) at www.ikea.co.uk/belfast.