Amazon warehouse plan: Batley and Spen MP Kim Leadbeater urges Kirklees Council's planning committee to reject proposal for site in Scholes

Batley and Spen MP Kim Leadbeater has urged Kirklees Council’s planning committee to reject the proposal for a giant Amazon warehouse in Scholes, near Cleckheaton.
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Speaking to the council’s strategic planning committee meeting this afternoon (Wednesday), where a decision is due to be made on the application, Ms Leadbeater said: “Nobody disputes that the site is suitable for development. We all want economic regeneration, good well-paid, skilled jobs, opportunities for apprenticeships and training, and fair recognition of trade unions.

“But does an Amazon distribution centre on this scale meet those objectives? I am more convinced today than ever that the answer is no.”

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Speaking on a link from Westminster where she was attending the Budget debate, Ms Leadbeater went on to refer to the “undeniable and dramatic impact” on the local road network.

Batley and Spen MP Kim LeadbeaterBatley and Spen MP Kim Leadbeater
Batley and Spen MP Kim Leadbeater

She said: “It’s estimated that there would be an extra two hundred thousand additional journeys every year by HGVs alone. Add to that staff traffic with a rolling shift pattern 24 hours a day and no amount of road widening etc is going to stop the inevitable gridlock.

"That directly affects the local economy especially small businesses and sole traders trying to meet their own delivery targets. As well as people trying to get to work or school or college.

“And I am desperately worried about the risk to pedestrians, especially children on their way to and from school.

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“When it comes to the environment, the damage done by all that traffic and the emissions generated during the construction phase is way beyond anything that might be mitigated by off-site investments.”

She said that in her view “it is clear that the very real, quantifiable and substantial damage to the health, well-being and safety of local families must take precedence over the unproven and questionable benefits in terms of employment and – dare I say it – the financial and other targets of the council”.

Addressing members of the committee directly, she added: “If you make the right decision today and if Amazon have to go elsewhere, I am confident we would soon see far more acceptable applicants coming forward for such a prime piece of land.

"And you would have done the right thing by the people of Scholes and the surrounding area, by Batley and Spen, and – I genuinely believe this – acted in the best interest of Kirklees as a whole.”