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IKEA interested in coming to Suffolk

PUBLISHED: 21:18 16 December 2001 | UPDATED: 11:02 03 March 2010

SWEDISH furniture giant Ikea is looking to build a major superstore and distribution centre in the Ipswich area - bringing hundreds of jobs to the area, The Evening Star can reveal today.

SWEDISH furniture giant Ikea is looking to build a major superstore and distribution centre in the Ipswich area - bringing hundreds of jobs to the area, The Evening Star can reveal today.

The company has been looking at a number of sites close to the A12 and A14 for a centre that would be at the heart of the company's distribution centre throughout southern England.

One site that has come under scrutiny is the former British Sugar factory at Sproughton.

The company had informal discussions with the owners of the land and with planning officials from Babergh Council earlier in the year.

No formal planning application was submitted - and it is not clear whether the proposal has been abandoned or if it is simply in the company's "pending" file.

However it is understood that the application involved more than just a retail warehouse - the company was interested in also developing a major distribution centre at the site.

This would have handled supplying stores across the south of England - it is also believed to be hoping to open stores in Norwich and Cambridge - and the company's increasing mail order business.

The Ipswich area is thought to be ideal for the centre because it is where the A14 and A12 meet, and it is near the ports of Harwich and Felixstowe.

The Sproughton Road site is thought to be especially attractive to Ikea - which has a strong environmental policy - because it is near the main railway line and its European-made furniture could be brought in by rail through the Channel Tunnel.

No one from Ikea was prepared to comment on the speculation - but the company has never made any secret of its desire to open stores in East Anglia.

At present its nearest stores to the region are at the Lakeside shopping centre in Thurrock and in London.

Ikea's superstores each employ about 500 people and contain a cafe as well as furniture departments. A major distribution centre would employ several hundred more people as well.


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