MP wades in against ‘Amazon’ warehouse

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Batley & Spen MP, Kim Leadbeater, has officially objected to the development of a +2.8 million ft2 ‘Amazon’ warehouse in Cleckheaton, West Yorkshire, casting doubt on the capability of the end-user to provide the jobs claimed in the planning proposal put to Kirklees Council in July this year.

The proposal is extremely controversial locally and Leadbeater’s campaign to become MP in the Batley & Spen by-election earlier in the year gave tacit support to campaigners.

Now Leadbeater has come out officially against the development with a letter to the Council in her role as local Member of Parliament, stating that the development would be “too big, too polluting, too damaging”.

The 59-acre site to the west of the M62 near Junction 26, will be entirely given over to the 23m-high facility, which has a footprint of some 694,500ft2 and will total 2.86 million ft2. It will be made up of a ground floor plus three mezzanine levels. There will be parking for 887 cars as well as 191 HGVs. The facility will have 85 dock and six level access doors.

Internet giant Amazon has been linked with the development almost from the outset but there has been no official acknowledgment from the company nor from the developer regarding the identity of the end-user. Leadbeater wrote, “Their refusal to engage with the legitimate questions raised by local residents leads me to conclude that they are hiding behind the planning process.”

With regard to the potential to provide 1,500 jobs within the application, Leadbeater wrote: “The supposed benefits of the proposal are said to be economic regeneration and job creation. A self-contained distribution warehouse of this kind, however, will do little or nothing to support local businesses or provide opportunities for new supply chains.

“Furthermore, I have seen nothing to give me confidence that the promise of some 1,500 new jobs would in fact materialise. It is the stated objective of Amazon to automate their warehouses as much as possible with the introduction of robots.”

Although the council has acknowledged the letter, neither the developer nor Amazon have commented. Earlier this year Amazon took AEW’s 515,000ft2 warehouse in nearby Wakefield built by Caddick.

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