Tuesday 20 March 2007

Ikea oral hearing underway

The Ikea oral hearing is underway. Ikea’s plans to open up shop just off the M50 in north Dublin (well, at Ballymun) are being put to the test from today.

Objectors include the National Roads Authority and the Green Party.

In October, Fingal County Council granted planning permission, with more than two dozen conditions, for the Swedish furniture giant to open the massive outlet in Ballymun.

If it gets the go ahead the investment in the local area, one in much need of regeneration, would be worth €150m and create 500 jobs. However, there are quesitons as to whether any of these jobs would go to people from Ballymun.

It has been contested on the grounds that it would compound the problems already faced by motorists on the gridlocked M50. Ballymun Regeneration and Ikea consider the current upgrade of the M50 to be enough to meet the predicted traffic growth. The reality is more likely to be "if you build it they will come" with both the M50 and all roads to Ikea - from across the country - clogged even after the upgrade.

The NRA was one of seven parties to appeal against the initial decision to grant planning permission stating there were serious concerns about the knock-on effect the store would have on the M50.

The body believes the guaranteed high number of shoppers trying to get to the outlet will lead to tailbacks and traffic jams backing on to the motorway.

Treasury Holdings, which is redeveloping the old Ballymun shopping centre, has said Ikea could have a significant negative impact on the road network.

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