Yesterday, the Swedish furniture giant confirmed it would not be progressing plans for its first Sussex store at New Monks Farm.
He said: “We welcome the news that IKEA is pulling out of the New Monks Farm development.
“It’s a traffic-generating business that would have brought the A27 to a standstill and raised air pollution to astronomical levels at certain times of the day.”
And fellow Mash Barn councillor Sharon Sluman added: “Adur Council’s decision to grant permission for the development was controversial to say the least. Local people have feared even more congestion on the A27 and across the area.
“We hope we are emerging from Covid and it would be great if this site could be used to support emerging local businesses. It could also be a base for technology and engineering, creating new skilled jobs and apprenticeships supporting the big growth area of technology aiming to help combat climate change.
“Rather than a giant warehouse we could have buildings that will not harm the local environment, sustainable design such as solar power and ground source heat pumps to off-set the concreting over of the flood plain.”
Mr Cowen said the large site presented great opportunities for ‘creative thinking, news ideas and new jobs’.
He added: “The council’s Adur Local plan suggested at least 10,000 square metres of employment-generating floorspace, but IKEA was more than three times that size.
“We have an opportunity to scale back to something more like the size envisaged by the council but offering a better range of jobs and skills.
“The site is IKEA’s to sell but we will be pressing the council to encourage other more-appropriate businesses to come forward.
“The nearby airport is already an engineering hub. Eco businesses that deal with renewables would complement the research already ongoing at the airport. Maybe we should be creating an enterprise zone to generate more skilled jobs?”
Readers have shared their views on the plans being scrapped and people can join the debate on the Worthing Herald’s Facebook page.