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News - 9 April 2011

IKEA fails to get Hollingbury site

The Swedish furniture company renowned for flatpack wardrobes and meatballs has failed in its bid to secure the British Bookshops warehouse on the Hollingbury Industrial Estate which probably scuppers its chances of coming to Brighton.

In a deal reputed to be worth something in the region of £3m the lease on the warehouse was sold by Irish owners Easons to an unknown buyer.

IKEA was known to be interested in purchasing this and two other leases for the adjacent Argus and the Talbot Tools buildings. This would have given an area of 3.25 hectares for the usual IKEA shed and ample surface parking.

Contracts are expected to be exchanged in April for completion in May. The buyers plans for the site are not yet known.

ECONOMIC PARTNERSHIP COMMENT

The prospect of an IKEA on the outskirts of town was discussed at the quarterly meeting of the Economic Partnership on 5th April and there was general agreement that it was not a good strategic use of the land.

Although it would provide a number of entry-level jobs the city should focus on providing graduate level jobs to reflect the nature of its workforce, over 40% of which is qualified to NVQ Level 4. Although it would undoubtedly be popular with residents and visitors from a wide catchment area, the contribution of an IKEA to the wider city economy would be limited and the anticipated congestion on the A27, particularly at the Hollingbury roundabout, would be considerable. Visitors to IKEA would be unlikley to leave the car park let alone venture into Brighton city centre or Hove town centre. 

Over the years the nature of Hollingbury Industrial Estate, which once offered employment for 6,000 people, has been slowly eroded by the change of use to retail.


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