Nigel Evans, MP for the Ribble Valley, has called for a meeting with the newly-appointed CEO of IKEA UK & Ireland, Javier Quiñones, over the company’s decision to withdraw its flagship store from the Cuerden Strategic site on the boundary of the Ribble Valley constituency.
It was announced by IKEA that despite works already commencing on the site, they would be withdrawing to seek a new location elsewhere due to ‘increased development costs and delays outside of IKEA’s control’. Upon completion, the site would have created around 4,500 new jobs - with the IKEA anchor store alone providing 350 of these.
Commenting on the announcement, Nigel Evans said:
“I was disappointed to hear of IKEA’s decision to withdraw from the Cuerden Strategic site this morning, I need to understand the exact reasons behind this to ensure that a solution is found which benefits all parties. I have already contacted IKEA to arrange a meeting with their UK CEO to discuss what problems have led to this conclusion, which is a massive loss to the Lancashire as a whole.
“Whilst there was clear issues with congestion and the traffic that the site would create, I was confident that this could be resolved - I had contacted LCC on several occasions to ensure that provisions were made when the site opened. The site has been long in the making, and it is a real shame to be knocked back this far in.”
Alongside the IKEA store, which would have been the second largest in the UK, there was due to be five large retail units, six restaurants and hundreds of houses complete with a 2,000 space carpark on the £36 million development in South Ribble.
Continuing, Mr Evans said:
“I will be doing all I can to ensure IKEA reconsider their withdrawal which would bring prosperity and economic stability to Lancashire. The Cuerden site continues to present a fantastic commercial opportunity for large businesses, with approved planning permission and convenient motorway links.”