An Ikea boss said today the furniture giant had been searching for the right site in Lancashire for some years.
The iconic Swedish firm has now set out proposals for its first store in Lancashire, close to Leyland and Preston.And the detailed plans for the proposed new retail and leisure park at Bamber Bridge, known as the Cuerden strategic site, have now gone on public display
Tim Farlam, real estate and development manager for Ikea, said the firm was conscious that customers had had to travel considerable distances to its other stores in Warrington and Manchester.
He said: “This will be our first store in Lancashire. It’s been in the pipeline for many years.
“We are proud of our business and are well aware that many customers have to travel a long way to shop at Ikea.”
He said discussions had been held with local councils and other bodies and the Cuerden plan was the perfect site.
Mr Farlam said: “Around 350 jobs will be created and there will be construction jobs as well. We are proud of what we do and proud to say that we pay our staff the Living Wage.”
Residents and businesses are being urged to have their say on plans for the site at the start of the M65, in conjunction with the Eric Wright Group, which could bring 4,500 jobs to the county.
A planning application is likely to be submitted to South Ribble Council in the coming weeks.
The development could also attract other well-known national retailers, major employers, restaurants, offices and housing, along with cycling and walking routes and new green spaces.
Scott Montgomery, regional sales manager of Hallmark Hotels, attended a public exhibition on the plans at South Ribble Council’s offices in Leyland yesterday.
He said: “It will be good for the area, for good for our business in Leyland. It could bring many people into the town and that can only be positive.”
A local resident said: “I think the plans look great and as long as the roads can cope, it will be fantastic.”
County Councillor Jennifer Mein, Leader of Lancashire County Council, said: “This is a very exciting potential development but we need to make absolutely sure that we get the planning application right. “
A public consultation event was being held today at St Catherine’s Hospice in the Garden Room, Cuerden, from 2pm-8pm
Another is being held in Preston on Saturday at The Harris, Rotunda Area, from 10am-4pm.