IKEA store expected to get go ahead
Published: 3 Apr 2012 09:304 comments
The controversial proposal to replace derelict buildings at Pincents Lane Retail Park with the £10m development is anticipated to get the green light from planning bosses at a meeting at Theale Green Community School from 6.30pm.
But the planning officer will be under strict instructions to tear up the agreement if IKEA does not complete a legal agreement by August.
The recommendation to West Berkshire Council's Eastern Area Planning Committee comes despite more than 200 letters of objection, and motorists' grave concerns about the impact of traffic on already congested roads - despite IKEA's plans to invest £5m in traffic improvements.
Tempers flared at a public meeting last night, when neighbours came face to face with representatives from the Swedish retailer, which is famous for its flat-pack furniture.
Irene Wilson, who lives on the Beansheaf estate, said: "This is going to be an absolute disaster. The building is ugly and it is going to cause so many problems on our roads. It's appalling. The roads here are utterly inadequate and it's going to be a catastrophe."
The development will cover four hectares with the store sitting to the north of Pincents Lane and the 1,287-space car park and areas for buses and coaches on the opposite side. The two areas will be linked by an overhead walkway.
It will bring 400 new jobs to the area, and Roddy Woodhouse, 44, who lives in Garston Crescent, Calcot, said: "A company like IKEA wouldn't plan to come somewhere if they knew the congestion would be that bad, because customers wouldn't go back - and the jobs are great news for Reading."
Reading West MP, Alok Sharma, who organised the meeting, said: "People are keen for an IKEA and are pleased that there will be a number of new jobs. The big issue is traffic. People have heard from IKEA that they will make improvements to the roads, but they are sceptical.
"For me, the issue is that if this application is given approval and IKEA goes ahead, and then traffic in Pincents Lane becomes a problem, what happens then?
"That will be a key issue for me at the meeting."
For a full report of tomorrow's meeting go to www.readingchronicle.co.uk on Thursday.