IKEA is due to take a unit on a 65 hectare site in the Lancashire Central site at Cuerden, which is being developed to provide employment, retail, housing and leisure facilities.
The site is expected to create around 4,500 new jobs in a variety of sectors including office, retail, manufacturing, logistics, catering and hospitality.
Councillor Geoff Driver CBE, Leader of Lancashire County Council, said: “IKEA have notified us that they wish to withdraw their plans for a new store at the Cuerden development site. This is extremely disappointing and we will hold discussions over the next few weeks with IKEA, the main anchor occupier for the retail element of the strategic development site at Cuerden.
“All parties agreed to the timescales more than a year ago and we have been working together consistently to meet all deadlines.
“We appreciate that there is a current state of uncertainty in the UK retail market generally, and we know there have been rising costs. However, this still remains a great investment opportunity. The site is in a very sought after location, right on the motorway network with planning consent already granted. Lancashire County Council will continue to work hard with their partners, the Eric Wright Group and Brookhouse, to ensure they reach the best possible outcome for Lancashire.”
Councillor Mary Green, Leader of South Ribble Borough Council, said: “I am bitterly disappointed to learn that IKEA has withdrawn its plans to open a new store in South Ribble, as I know many residents will be too.
“The land at Cuerden is one of our key strategic sites and is perfectly located with direct access to the main motorway networks.
“There is a significant demand for commercial space in our borough and we will be working incredibly hard with Lancashire County Council and our partners to maximise the potential of this site – with a commitment to creating new jobs and boosting the local economy.
“South Ribble is a prime location for business, already being home to the likes of DAF, Waitrose and Dr Oetker, and it’s the perfect destination to re-locate too – having being voted the Best Place to Live in the UK.”
Councillor Peter Moss, Deputy Leader of Preston City Council said: “We are disappointed to hear of IKEA’s decision to withdraw from the Cuerden site.
“However the site continues to be one of significant potential for Central Lancashire, both in terms of location and scale. It remains our hope and intention that this development site will provide a range of job opportunities to Preston residents.
“We will continue to work with our City Deal partners to achieve the best possible outcome for the area. We are committed to our ambitious aspirations for Preston and Central Lancashire.”