This is when work on Sussex's first IKEA should be starting

The long wait for construction to begin on a controversial development, that includes Sussex's first IKEA superstore, could soon be over.

Work on the New Monks Farm site in Lancing, near to Shoreham Airport, is planned before the end of the year, according to a report to Adur and Worthing councils' joint strategic committee.

An artist's impression of how the IKEA superstore could look

An artist's impression of how the IKEA superstore could look

Planning permission for the scheme, which also includes more than 600 homes, a country park, relocation of the Withy Patch Gypsy and travellers’ site and a pumping station, was granted last October by Adur District Council's planning committee.

The decision was passed on to the Secretary of State, who opted not to make a ruling on the decision in order to give 'more power to councils and communities to make their own decisions on planning issues'.

The meeting report, to be discussed on Tuesday, October 8, said: "Whilst the project has been delayed by the Secretary of State (considering whether to call in the application) it is expected that the planning permission will be finally issued in the next few weeks or so following the completion of the legal agreement.

"The developer, New Monks Farm Ltd hopes to make a start on site before the end of the year."

The report says the council will receive £5.7million of funding from the Capital Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), which it plans to put towards a new roundabout on the A27 to replace the Sussex Pad junction.

Next week's committee meeting will see councillors discuss whether to enter into a funding agreement with the LEP to secure the funds.

The funds would be granted to the council but passed straight on to the developer New Monks Farm Ltd to carry out the construction. The report proposes a side agreement between the council and New Monks Farm Ltd to offer legal protection for the council should grant conditions not be met and funds demanded back by the LEP.

To make sure the financial risk does not sit with the council, the report said, it will enter into a contractual arrangement forcing the developer to comply with the terms of funding. No funding would be released to the developer until the side agreement had been signed, should the report's recommendations be agreed by the committee.

It added the council would not be adding any of its own additional funds to the project.

Read more here: All you need to know about the IKEA decision meeting