Where is the cycle infrastructure at Ikea?

The Ikea development in Sheffield included transport improvements which were required to deal with the increase in traffic and resulting congestion and air pollution. Sheffield Council claimed they had played ‘hardball’ with Ikea to secure £15 million towards these transport upgrades.

These upgrades should have included a 900 metre (about half a mile) cycle path along Sheffield Road and Attercliffe Common to connect cycle routes at Next Home and Carbrook Hall. From 2013 onwards there were detailed discussions between council officers and Ikeas transport consultants WYG over the cycle route and designs were produced

The provision of this infrastructure was part of the 2nd condition for planning approval for the store but the cycle route has not been built. The construction of a very short path by the side of the store was condition 13 and this has been built. 

Today (17/09/2018) we have written to Jack Scott (cabinet member for transport), Tom Finnegan-Smith (head of Strategic Transport and Infrastructure) and Steve Wilson (the Sheffield Council cycle champion) about the lack of cycle infrastructure around the Ikea store. 

Dear Jack, Tom and Steve,

I am writing to you on behalf of CycleSheffield regarding the Sheffield Ikea store.

One of Sheffield Council’s conditions for planning approval for the store was cycling infrastructure improvements along Sheffield Road and Attercliffe Common to create a cycle route between Vulcan Road and Arena Square.

These improvements have not been implemented, neither have any designs been submitted for these improvements. These are clearly now well overdue.

Please can you ensure these improvements are delivered in full as soon as possible and keep CycleSheffield updated with the progress on this issue.

For reference I have attached the decision notice in full with the relevant sections highlighted yellow.

Yours sincerely

Dexter Johnstone

UPDATE 20/12/18

We finally received a response from Jack Scott (cabinet member for transport), copied in below. Basically the cycling condition was so poorly written that it is unenforceable and therefore no cycling infrastructure will be delivered as part of the Ikea development. Whilst improvements to the planning process should ensure that this situation does not happen again it is quite shocking that a development of this size, with such a protracted planning process which raised major concerns about air pollution and public health will not provide any of the promised cycle infrastructure. 

We will be discussing the changes to the planning process with council officers to make sure we are happy with them.

Hi Dexter,

First of all, thank you for raising this issue with me and please accept my apologies for the delay in getting back to you.

As you have pointed out the wording of condition 2 is less than ideal and leaves room for manoeuvre on the improvements that the developer had to provide. In order to ensure that this does not happen again, officers from Transport Planning and Highways Development have reviewed the process by which conditions for cycling improvements are worded and agreed before they are included in any proposed planning permission. Following this review in future developers will be required to indicate what is proposed for cyclists on a plan(s).  The plan to be annotated with required widths, method of segregation, etc., depending on what is required in the circumstances.  The plan drawing number will be referred to in the conditions.  This should make it quite clear what is required to all.

With outline planning applications it will sometimes be difficult to indicate what is required on a plan internal to the site – there may not be a road layout and the precise mix of uses may and therefore the amount and type of traffic, may not be known.  In such circumstances Highways Development will liaise with Transport Planning (and Planning Development officers if appropriate) to provide a suitable condition(s).

With regard to Ikea condition 2, the general consensus is that it would be difficult to enforce it due to its lack of clarity and also as the construction works finished some time ago.  I do believe with the above measures in place that the Ikea situation should not arise again.

Yours sincerely,


UPDATE 29/01/19

We have written to Javier Quinones the CEO of Ikea UK and Ireland, and to Ikea’s UK Head of Sustainability:

Dear Sir,

I am contacting you as a member of CycleSheffield. I apologise for troubling you, but this concerns a matter which I expect will require a decision at a senior level. As part of the new IKEA development in Sheffield a new cycle route should have been constructed. However, the planning condition for this was poorly written by the council planners, the cycle route has not been constructed and the Council feel that they cannot enforce the condition.

Whilst it may be legally unenforceable it would still be great if IKEA could complete the route as a goodwill gesture – giving the opportunity for IKEA to benefit from being seen to do the right thing, and provide the cycle path after all. This would also fit well with IKEA’s sustainable/green credentials.

Would you please reconsider IKEA’s position on this matter, and let me know how you intend to proceed? CycleSheffield would, of course, be very willing to help promote the good news should IKEA agree to do this. BBC Look North is already interested, as is of course the local press.

To assist, I attach the Planning Consent letter dated 16 January 2015 with the relevant sections highlighted in yellow. If you would like any further information please just let me know.

Response from Ikea’s Real Estate Asset Manager on 07/02/2019

Hi ,

Thanks for your email. We are sorry to hear that you’re disappointed with the final result as we are proud of measures we have taken to improve the cycling infrastructure (as detailed in my previous email). IKEA fulfilled, to the satisfaction of the Council, all that was asked of us in our conditions of planning.

Any further improvements will be at the discretion of Sheffield Council.

Kind regards,

Real Estate Asset Manager
Real Estate Property
IKEA Properties Investments Limited

Response from Tom Finnegan-Smith confirming adoption of the new Cycle Procedure and Conditions document on 30th April 2019.

Good morning Dexter

Thanks for your email.

I can confirm that the procedure tabled at the Cycle Forum has now been agreed and sent to the Head of Highway Maintenance Division under which the Highway Development Management team that assess the highway implications of planning applications sit.

The procedure will now be used for all applications that require cycle related planning conditions.

The procedure has also been provided to the Interim Head of Planning so that it can be shared amongst relevant Development Management colleagues as required.

9 thoughts on “Where is the cycle infrastructure at Ikea?

  1. Is this what the council calls ‘accountability’?

    ‘Oh dear we messed up the wording…
    Oh dear we didn’t check what was being done…
    Oh dear we ignored it when these issues were raised by our constituents…
    Oh dear we don’t have the bottle to try to sort it out …
    Never mind, we’ve reviewed a process…
    And we do so hope nobody gets hurt cycling on that piece of road…’

    (We all swoon in appreciation)

  2. It is just unacceptable for SCC to now give excuses when it was clearly obvious that there should be an improved cycle infrastructure in place before the store open.
    It’s long overdue BUT let’s us see who is going to own up and say they have MESS UP and do what should have done long time ago!

  3. Have IKEA themselves made any comment on why they haven’t done any of what they promised? Is it worth seeing if the Star want do a story on a major retailer reneging on its promises? Seems that IKEA should at least suffer some reputational damage over this.

  4. ‘We are working {with SCC] to ensure this doesn’t happen again’….err…how about seeking an explanation of how it occurred in the first place?

  5. If BBC Look North and other journalists are already interested, could a media campaign not be instigated to draw public (not just cyclists’) attention to the fact that IKEA are ducking their responsibilities? They have built an enviable reputation for ‘sustainable’ thinking but any reputation can come undone in an instant. ‘IKEA wilfully endangers cyclists’ would probably not be their chosen headline, or maybe ‘IKEA colludes in cyclist’s manslaughter’.

  6. Whacking huge car park accessed from a very busy road. Small row of bicycle parking hoops and nonexistent cycle path. Tokenistic approach to sustainability, you can do better Ikea!

  7. I what sense is IKEA entitled to say it has ‘….fully complied with all the conditions imposed by the city council’? As I understand it the conditions for planning approval for the store included ‘…..cycling infrastructure improvements along Sheffield Road and Attercliffe Common to create a cycle route between Vulcan Road and Arena Square.’ Not so far as I can see either vague or complicated language.

    1. There are lots of weasel words in the cycling condition which has meant Ikea can get out of doing anything and SCC can’t enforce it.

      ‘Improvements … consisting of general footway improvements aimed at providing a cycle route …’

      So vague footway improvements which aren’t defined aimed at, but not actually, providing a cycle route.

      Compare to the other transport conditions – there is no vagueness and they all refer to drawings / plans which show what is required.

      A good example of how cycling is not taken seriously as a transport mode by SCC (or at least by certain parts of SCC).

  8. How much expenditure have IKEA avoided by not being made to construct the cycle route? They should be ashamed that they have profiteered from avoiding cycle safety requirements – and morally should pay the amount they saved for the cycle route to be built.

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