IKEA is planning to open its first Sussex store, the firm has confirmed.
After months of speculation, the Swedish furniture giant announced proposals to move to New Monks Farm, Lancing as part of a £150million development led by Brighton and Hove Albion.
The new store could open in 2019, subject to planning permission.
Wider development of the greenfield site is expected to include 600 homes, a country park, space for a school and a new roundabout to replace the Sussex Pad lights.
The project could create 875 jobs, 440 of which would be full or part-time positions at IKEA.
Tim Farlam, real estate manager for IKEA, said: “This site presents a great opportunity, given its scale, accessibility and location. A new store here would provide people from the greater Brighton area with relevant home furnishing solutions and will create local jobs.”
New Monks Farm is allocated for homes and commercial space in the Adur Local Plan, which will be scrutinised by a government inspector next week.
Campaign groups, including CPRE and Adur Floodwatch, are expected to oppose development, with concerns over flood risk and increased traffic.
Speaking to the Herald, Albion chief executive and New Monks Farm Development director Martin Perry said extensive research had been undertaken to deal with the issues.
With IKEA stores opening at 10am to avoid peak-time congestion, the development company claimed traffic modelling revealed the impact on the A27 would be less than if the commercial space, earmarked in the local plan, was used as offices.
The company has also drilled more than 150 holes and installed of 29 flow meters to gather data on the site’s flood risk. A new pumping station forms part of the plans.
“We don’t want this site to flood as it puts us at risk,” Mr Perry said, in reference to Albion’s training facility in Mash Barn Lane.
“We have got a joint interest here and we are aligned with the residents.”
Adur District Council leader Neil Parkin welcomed the potential investment, which is expected to generate £2.79million in business rates, council tax and New Homes Bonus payments annually.
But he warned the plans must deal with the fears of the community.
He said: The proposal from New Monks Farm Development Ltd and IKEA must fully address concerns the local community has around flooding and sustainable development at this key site through a clear and convincing business case.
“Once completed, our district will benefit from an annual £11.5million economic injection, and which will allow us to continue delivering high-quality services and helping people do great things in Adur.”
Construction of a new A27 roundabout, as envisaged in the local plan, will prove key to delivery of the development.
Adur is waiting to hear from the Government if a £9.43million funding bid to aid the junction’s delivery has been successful.
The opening of the junction would coincide with IKEA’s mid-2019 opening date.
Three public exhibitions will be held for residents to view the plans.
The Shoreham Centre, in Pond Road, Shoreham, will host events on Friday, between 2pm and 8pm, and Saturday between 10am and 2pm.
A third event, at Lancing Parish Hall, has been arranged for Wednesday, between 4pm and 8pm.
Lancing Parish Council and Worthing and Adur Chamber of Commerce have received briefings from the development team.