Bosses have written to Kirklees Council recommending that planning permission for the mammoth fulfilment centre is not granted until a critical traffic assessment is fully completed. That marks a six-month extension to a previous non-approval period.
However it has been mired in controversy with locals forming the campaign group Save Our Spen to raise objections against what has been described as an “absolutely monstrous” and “wholly inappropriate” building.
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The letter, sent by National Highways’ North East regional director Simon Boyle, represents a formal recommendation and has also been copied to the Department of Transport.
Specifically, National Highways is concerned about the strategic road network (SRN) around the Amazon site, which is close to junction 26 of the M62 at Chain Bar and, if approved, will be accessed from the A58 Whitehall Road by hundreds of HGVs every day.
It has recommended temporary non-approval “to ensure the safe and continued operation of the SRN”.
If Kirklees Council decided to move ahead regardless, it would first have to consult Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, and could not make a determination until that consultation was complete.
A spokesperson for Save Our Spen said a report by an independent traffic expert, which it paid for via funding from the community, had laid bare “many errors and false claims” around the scheme.
They added: “It is striking that we have not yet been able to receive a final report as we are still to see an up to date evidence-based traffic assessment from the applicants, which can be fully assessed.
"It is absolutely damning that National Highways are demanding ‘revised modelling scenarios to support the conclusions of their revised transport assessment’.
"The simple message is this proposed development is not suitable for the site and the road infrastructure.”
Coun John Lawson (Lib Dem, Cleckheaton), who backs the local campaign against the Amazon warehouse, said it was “telling” that National Highways has had to extend its non-approval period by another six months.
He said: “The traffic assessment was deemed by Kirklees planners to be unacceptable because of its flawed methodology and National Highways obviously agrees.
"It is patently still inadequate and I wonder just how many more bites of the apple Amazon are going to get.
“I’m glad that National Highways continue to cite the public interest in their reasons and hope that the other developments around Chain Bar are being considered.
"If they’re not, future developments may be limited by traffic saturation.
"That makes the Local Plan ‘first come, first served’, which is no plan at all.”