Cleckheaton community victorious as Amazon will not appeal refusal of planning permission for giant warehouse in Scholes
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The plans came up against strong opposition from community campaign group Save Our Spen (SOS), which fought tirelessly against the controversial application.
If the plans had gone ahead, more than 200,000 HGV journeys were expected to be made going to and from the site every year, raising environmental and safety concerns.
These concerns were amplified with HGVs set to use residential streets and drive past local primary schools.
Other fears included the impact that lighting would have on the surrounding area, with the outcome likened to the Blackpool Illuminations, and the generally imposing nature of the building with it described during the planning meeting as “a blot on the landscape”.
The application was rejected by the council’s strategic planning committee in March, leaving the Cleckheaton community victorious.
Despite this, a sense of uncertainty remained as Amazon could have chosen to appeal the council’s decision.
However, the community can now feel reassured that a warehouse will not be brought to their neighbourhood as Amazon has confirmed in writing that it will not be appealing the decision to throw out the application and is no longer considering the site.
An email to the council from Amazon’s public policy operations manager reads: “At the Kirklees Council strategic planning committee meeting on March 15, 2023, a decision was made by committee members to refuse planning consent to application number 2021/92603.
"The application was for the erection of a storage and distribution unit (use class B8) located at land west of M62, south of Whitehall Road.
“The applicant has decided not to appeal the committee’s decision.
"As such, Amazon is no longer considering this site as a potential future location.”
Taking to Twitter, SOS said: “This is the news we have been waiting for since March 15, 2023 and ends once and for all a planning application courted by Kirklees cabinet and certain officers within the council, against the resounding wishes of the local community, common sense and the weight of evidence against the suitability of such an application in a village location.
“We now await any future applications and the proposed Local Plan review by Kirklees Council.
"We want to thank you once again for all your generous and unwavering support.
"It shows just what can be achieved when a community organises and fights a council that is acting against the interests of that community.”
Leader of Kirklees’ Lib Dem group and Cleckheaton ward councillor, Coun John Lawson, said: “I’m happy to hear that Amazon, having assessed their options, are not pursuing an appeal for the Cleckheaton site.
"It took our community two years to show that it was not the right application for the site and I’m certain we’d start again tomorrow if we had to.
“SOS engaged positively with planning, providing evidence which led to strategic committee making a robust, defensible decision to refuse the application.
"I’d hope Kirklees would protect that aspect of democracy in planning in the future.”