No parcel distribution to take place at expanded former water treatment site

An industrial unit being built on the site of a former water treatment works off the M606 near Oakenshaw is to be bigger than originally planned following agreement by councillors in Kirklees.

By Tony Earnshaw, Local Democracy Reporting Service
Saturday, 16th July 2022, 6:00 am

However they have laid down restrictions to ensure the site won’t be used for parcel distribution, following fears that van journeys would put pressure on already overloaded roads.

The contentious scheme to transform the former Yorkshire Water North Bierley Waste Water Treatment Works, which occupies 57 acres between the M62 and the M606, was approved in September 2020 despite concerns about congested roads, the “problematic” nature of the Chain Bar junction, and the potentially dangerous implications of traffic on a nearby primary school.

This week applicant Interchange LLP 26 sought to change the classification of part of the site from general industrial use to storage or distribution, prompting fears over future use.

The former Yorkshire Water treatment plant at North Bierley. Image: Google

Planning officers with Kirklees Council said the 16 per cent increase in floor space from 35,284 sq metres to 41,191 sq metres was “minor” and would have “no materially

greater impact upon the local highway network”.

One critic, local resident Charlie Brown, said the floor space had previously been limited to protect green space and suggested Kirklees’ planning had been “enlisted to support a spurious interpretation” of the condition that he said “sets the parameters for the type of use”.

He said the condition was “not the conduit to increase the size of the development” and questioned the legality of the applicant’s approach as it paved the way for a building “the size of a football field”.

Planning consultant Jeremy Williams said the proposed new use would be quieter and generate few vehicle movements. He said there would be no greater impact on local roads.

Coun Andrew Pinnock (Lib Dem, Cleckheaton) warned the new classification was the same as for warehousing and expressed concern that it could lead to more vehicles going through Oakenshaw village.

He sought assurances that the end use would not be parcel distribution, with “no use of small vans”.

The strategic planning committee voted 5-2 to approve the change.