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EDITIONS
Sunday, 17 November, 2002, 17:27 GMT
Ikea to battle government in court
IKEA ad
Plans to see the people of Stockport were thwarted
The furniture giant Ikea is going to battle the government in the High Court after planning permission for a new store was blocked.


We are by definition a retailer that relies heavily on car-borne traffic

Scott Courdrey, Ikea
The case is likely to centre on whether big out of town shops should continue being built in the UK.

Ikea decided to launch the High Court action after the Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott refused to allow a new Ikea to be built on the outskirts of Stockport in Cheshire.

In a letter, he told the company that its philosophy ran counter to the government's objectives to ensure sustainability and promote social inclusion.

Move to town centres

He said that because 97.1% of Ikea's customers drove to the stores, people without cars were excluded.

And he said a new, big store would be likely to have an impact on other centres.

Ikea's application for planning permission had originally been approved by an inspector after a public inquiry.

But Mr Prescott told Ikea it should make more effort to look for smaller town-centre sites.

Relying on the car

Ikea has built all of its 11 UK stores next to major roads and has big expansion plans.

If it becomes more difficult to get planning permission for out of town shops then the company will have to have change its whole strategy.

Ikea's property manager Scott Courdrey said the company would fight Mr Prescott on each of the objections made in his letter.

"We are by definition a retailer that relies heavily on car-borne traffic," he said.

"We will be submitting evidence to protect this concept, which is very popular."

Praise for Prescott

Nick Schoon, from the Council for the Protection of Rural England, welcomed Mr Prescott's decision.

"We would hope this encourages developers and retailers to look at town centre sites.

"There is clear evidence a lot of town centres have been shattered by out of town developments."

See also:

19 Jun 00 | Business
06 Nov 02 | Wales
28 Jul 00 | Europe
01 Nov 00 | UK
01 Oct 02 | England
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