Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott has twice rejected Ikea's plans for a 300,000 sq ft (28,000 sq m) store on the grounds that it was too big. Ikea challenged the decision through the courts, and argued that Prescott and his planning inspector had failed to understand the evidence before them. However, Mr Justice Elias ruled that Prescott's decision was sound.
The store proposals won the backing of the local authority and were recommended for approval in 2003 by a first planning inquiry, but Prescott over-ruled his own inspector. Ikea then resubmitted the proposals in 2004 after a court ruled that decision was flawed. However, this time Ikea lost at the inquiry stage with Prescott and the inspector agreeing that the store was inappropriate.