RETAIL giant IKEA wants to build a second Dublin store off the M50 motorway, which will create at least 400 full-time jobs.
The international home furnishings chain has identified a site at Cherrywood in south Dublin, and has asked the local authority to rezone land allowing it to go ahead.
The company, which already operates stores at Ballymun and in Belfast, told a planning hearing yesterday it should be allowed build a retail warehouse in the area.
It wants An Bord Pleanala to overturn a decision by Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council to ban large-scale stores.
The council has drawn up a masterplan for the 264-hectare site in south Dublin, which makes provision for up to 8,300 homes, three new villages, a town centre, six schools and 4,500sqm of community centres.
Called a strategic development zone (SDZ), it will be developed over a 30-year period. A planning hearing into the scheme opened two weeks ago, and is expected to conclude this week.
Town planner Tom Phillips, who is representing IKEA, said the company could seek permission for a store in any of the five 'gateway' towns of Dublin, Cork, Limerick/Shannon, Galway and Waterford, but not in south Dublin, despite its booming population, good road network and access to public transport.
"The SDZ has lots of zonings, but says there should be no retail warehousing at all which kills it off," he said. "In the rest of the country there's a fighting chance, but not here.
"IKEA is in consultation with the council for the past three years. There was supposed to be a study done on the proposal, but it hasn't happened.
"We would like An Bord Pleanala not to exclude retail warehousing," he added.
Under SDZ rules, the local council grants planning permission and the decision cannot be appealed.
In a submission, the company said the Cherrywood plan denied IKEA the opportunity to make any planning argument to facilitate a store in the area.
It wants to build a 35,000sqm store, similar in size to its Ballymun branch.
A six-hectare site just off the Wyattville link Road from the M50 had been identified.
The site is beside the proposed town centre, and would act as a noise and wind buffer from the M50.
Local councillors passed a motion to prepare a study into the proposal last June, but it has not been completed. IKEA first met with the council about the plans in March 2010.