Roundabout layout ignored as row heats up over Amazon plan in Cleckheaton

Critics of plans to build a massive Amazon fulfilment centre on fields off junction 26 of the M62 at Scholes near Cleckheaton say key changes suggested for the scheme have been ignored.

By Tony Earnshaw, Local Democracy Reporting Service
Wednesday, 11th May 2022, 11:58 am
Updated Wednesday, 11th May 2022, 12:01 pm

Campaign group Save Our Spen trawled through an updated application submitted to Kirklees Council’s planning department and highlighted 19 changes including alterations to local roads.

But they say recommendations by highways chiefs have been overlooked and that increased job numbers will mean higher levels of traffic on already congested roads – including a main walking and cycling route from Scholes village serving local schools.

Amazon intends to build the facility on 59 acres of sloping farmland between the A58 Whitehall Road, the B6120 Whitechapel Road and the M62. A brochure produced by developers ISG Retail Ltd (Bristol) indicates up to 2,400 jobs on the site – an increase of 900 on original estimates.

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Queuing traffic at junction 26 of the M62 at Chain Bar, which locals say will only get worse when a new Amazon fulfilment centre is built nearby

Save Our Spen said a roundabout arrangement for Whitechapel Road – recommended by council highways staff – has been ignored in favour of traffic lights “that will stop traffic along the A58 both to and from the Chain Bar roundabout at regular intervals”.

Based on HGV movement figures that could mean 44 trucks entering and leaving the site every hour – approximately once every 81 seconds.

Save Our Spen also highlighted that a proposed entrance on Whitechapel Road close to housing still appeared on the Amazon plan even though council highways staff had recommended it be removed.

Operating a one-way system within the Amazon site has been described by Save Our Spen as “a big change” that means a southern entrance to the service yard closest to homes on Whitechapel Road “will be used by every single HGV day and night, instead of the original plan where this entrance to the service yard would only have been used seasonally”.

The group described as “nonsensical” the claim by ISG that HGVs and the majority of staff on the Amazon site would use the A58 to enter the facility. Instead they said local back roads could become a “rat-run” for workers seeking to avoid clogged roads and queuing traffic.

A spokesperson added: “Similarly, when leaving the site are you going to join the queue on site waiting to exit onto the A58 or are you going to exit by Whitechapel Road, which is not traffic light controlled?

“This will push more and more traffic onto residential streets as people try to bypass queues and reach junction 27 of the M62 and the M621.”

Save Our Spen has also questioned traffic assessments, which it says are based on 675 staff per shift and not the 2,400 jobs now associated with the site.

A consultation period on the plan, which was due to end on May 6, has now been extended until May 31.

As of April 26 there had been 1,195 objections.