GLOBAL retail giant IKEA was today set to move into Aberdeen after plans for a store were backed.
The city council’s planning committee gave the go-ahead for an outlet.
The Swedish furniture retailer has been lined up for the Makro site, off Wellington Road, to the south of the city.
It will be redeveloped to include an IKEA order and collection point – similar to the Argos model – with a showroom and sales area, as well as a cafe and toilets.
The remainder of the space would be split with a downsized Makro taking up a part of it and a smaller supermarket earmarked for the remaining space.
Planning development management committee convener, councillor Ramsay Milne, said: “The decision of the committee opens the door to Ikea to establish a presence in Aberdeen which I am sure will be welcomed by the vast majority of city residents.”
Developer Cyan Properties Ltd initially had consent to open a supermarket on the site, but submitted an amended application.
A planning report for the committee said: “The applicant’s agent has approached the planning authority to highlight their difficulties in obtaining an end-user for a large supermarket due to the current economic climate.
“As such, they have made a request to the planning authority to amend the terms of the planning application submission.”
The IKEA store is expected to be open in time for Christmas.
Ahead of the meeting, an IKEA is spokeswoman said: “Our customers are also telling us that with 18 stores in the UK, we are often too far away. Order and collection points give us the opportunity to trial new ways of being more accessible.”
A spokesman for the developers said the people in the city had wanted an IKEA for years.
He said: “Re-using an existing building makes this a sustainable development that effectively offers consumers three for the price of one with minimum disruption.”
Planning officers had suggested calling for a fresh application — and carrying out a retail assessment — as the original had proposed the majority of space be non-convenience retail.
They warned the council could face a “potential” legal challenge from rival developers.