Giant Swedish home furnishings retailer IKEA has finally won a green light to build one its large stores at Vestby, south of Oslo. The project was opposed by the farmers’ lobby and environmentalists, because the construction site is currently farmland that they think should be preserved for food production.
The conflict went all the way to the state government, which decided that the interests of the local community (which largely favoured the IKEA project) and the prospects for local economic development and jobs should go ahead of the interests of the farmers.
“We have registered that there is widespread local support for the project, and that it can strengthen development of Vestby,” said Jan Tore Sanner, the minister in charge of municipalities.
Environmentalists who advocate preservation of open space said they still hope IKEA would drop the project. The farmers’ lobby blasted the government’s decision, claiming that the government was willing to sacrifice food production.