MP’s call for Amazon to meet with residents over warehouse plans near M62

Retail giant Amazon has been urged to answer questions about a massive fulfilment centre planned for farmland near junction 26 of the M62 by attending a public meeting with local people.

By Tony Earnshaw, Local Democracy Reporting Service
Friday, 8th April 2022, 6:00 am
Batley and Spen MP Kim Leadbeater
Batley and Spen MP Kim Leadbeater

The invitation has been made by Batley and Spen MP Kim Leadbeater and follows concerns that thousands of jobs being touted as part of the project may fail to materialise.

Objectors to the scheme have expressed fears that the majority of jobs created – said to be as many as 2,400 – will be low-skilled or unskilled.

The GMB union has pledged to ask Kirklees Council to put as much pressure on Amazon as possible to ensure it is given access to recruit any workers the company employs should the facility be approved at planning committee.

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The indicative masterplan for Amazon's proposed fulfilment centre in Scholes, near Cleckheaton

Amazon was confirmed as the company behind the contentious proposals last month via a letter to Ms Leadbeater from ISG Retail Ltd (Bristol), the company that submitted the plans to Kirklees Council.

Ms Leadbeater says she has seen nothing to change her opinion that the scheme is “simply too big” for the 59-acre site between Whitehall Road, Whitechapel Road and junction 26 of the M62 in Scholes, near Cleckheaton.

She believes the local community cannot accommodate the mammoth development, which has been described by critics as equivalent in height to an eight-storey tower block and the length of three full-size football pitches side-by-side.

She says the “damage” the development would do locally “far exceeds any benefit” in terms of employment, and that “already over-burdened roads” could not cope with extra traffic from both delivery vehicles and employees trying to get to and from work.

She added: “However, now that Amazon have finally confirmed to me that they would be the end-user of the proposed development, it is absolutely right that their track record should be taken into account, including on employment.

"We all want to see more, good quality, long-terms jobs for local people, but I have a number of concerns.

“These include Amazon’s well-advertised ambition of having increasingly automated operations, which calls into question the sustainability of the jobs on offer.

"There is also the impact on the local employment picture overall and the risk of creating shortages in, for example, the health and social care sectors.

“I have asked Amazon to agree to join me at a public meeting in the area so local residents can put these and many other questions to the company directly.

"I would also call on Amazon to confirm that, should the development go ahead, any workers would be entitled to join a recognised trade union as this would be the best way of ensuring that employment rights are properly protected.”

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