Campaign group will be allowed to attend drop-in event for Amazon plan

Online retail giant Amazon has agreed to let a campaign group be at a promotional event for its planned fulfilment centre in Scholes, near Cleckheaton – and to allow objectors to “focus on the negatives” associated with the scheme.

By Tony Earnshaw, Local Democracy Reporting Service
Thursday, 26th May 2022, 10:00 am

Save Our Spen has been vociferous in its opposition to the giant complex, which is earmarked for 59 acres of farmland close to junction 26 of the M62, and sandwiched between the A58 Whitehall Road and the B6120 Whitechapel Road.

The scheme, which could bring thousands of jobs to the area, was unveiled last year and has proved to be hugely controversial and unpopular.

Among those opposing it is Batley and Spen MP Kim Leadbeater, who believes it is too big for the area.

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An aerial view of the proposed Amazon warehouse site at Scholes, near Cleckheaton, showing its proximity to local houses. It is bordered by the M62 on one side, a cemetery, Whitechapel Road and Whitehall Road

Earlier this month Save Our Spen said some local people had been snubbed by not being invited to the four-hour drop-in session. However, Amazon has now agreed to their request to be present on the day.

A group spokesperson said: “In the interest of providing our many supporters with a balanced view, Save our Spen have negotiated a presence at the marketing event organised by Amazon on Thursday, May 26.

Representatives from Amazon will be there to promote what they believe are the positives.

"We on the other hand will provide full details of the numerous disadvantages placing such a monstrosity in a residential area will bring. We look forward to seeing [people] there.”

When plans for the site were first unveiled at Kirklees Council’s strategic planning committee, officers said the plan was “acceptable in principle” even though it exceeds the development capacity outlined in the council’s Local Plan.

They said the number of jobs – suggested to be around 1,500 at that time – would contribute towards the council’s target of delivering 23,000 jobs by 2031.

Projected job numbers have since jumped by 900 to 2,400 according to a recent brochure produced by developers ISG Retail Ltd (Bristol).

Opponents of the 24/7 facility have questioned those numbers and have raised a range of other concerns, including heightened traffic on already clogged local roads due to 44 trucks entering and leaving the site every hour – approximately once every 81 seconds – based on HGV movement figures.

Members of the Save Our Spen committee will be present at the drop-in to hand out leaflets to anyone attending.

The group said: “We hope our attendance will assist residents in drawing the attention of the developer to the severe concerns the community have regarding this proposal.”

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