Amazon Kirklees: New warehouse will be like 'Blackpool Illuminations' say campaigners

Blackpool Illuminations-style light pollution could trigger sleep deprivation for people in Yorkshire if the building of a proposed Amazon warehouse gets the go-ahead, campaigners have claimed.

Campaigners from Save Our Spen (SOS) say that the site at Scholes, which proposes to operate 24 hours a day, would become “the single largest source of light pollution in Kirklees.” Documents submitted by the applicant suggest that beams of light emitted from the site would be confined to its boundaries and fails to specifically address the impact at night.

However, SOS was not satisfied that this was sufficient and fundraised to commission an independent lighting assessment. The findings of the new report by 2B Landscape Consultancy Ltd present a scene that has been likened to the Blackpool Illuninations and shows the “significant visual effect of the lit building and surroundings at night time, in stark contrast to what is, at present, a completely dark field.”

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A spokesperson for SOS said: “SOS have looked at the lighting documents the applicants have submitted and they suggest that all the lighting will magically stop at the borders of the site. They want us to believe that the lights from 179 floodlights, with many producing the same as 31 car full beam headlights will not be visible at the bedrooms of the houses bordering the site.

How the Amazon warehouse in Spen Valley could look at nightHow the Amazon warehouse in Spen Valley could look at night
How the Amazon warehouse in Spen Valley could look at night

“Anyone who has driven past any operational Amazon warehouses, will be well aware how brightly lit they are in the hours of darkness and how far away they can be seen. In this case, it will be the largest single source of light pollution in Kirklees. It will emit 23 tonnes of CO2 each year when Kirklees Council has already declared a climate emergency.

“The truth is that if this building is allowed to be built sat prominently on top of a hill, it will light up the night sky around the whole area and be visible miles away. What once was a dark field, home to owls and bats at night will become the Spen Valley’s own Blackpool illuminations, but without the fun park and rides that go with them. Kirklees Council have, not only a duty to consider the effects on the residential amenity of residents, but also a duty of care to those residents.”

The group’s concerns have been acknowledged by Emma Mills of Kirklees Council’s Landscape department. She said: “Noting the proposed development’s external lighting and round-the-clock operation, 2B Landscape Consultancy Ltd have raised a potentially valid concern regarding night-time landscape and visual impact, and have submitted a night-time visualisation of the proposed development.”

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In December, an Amazon warehouse at Poole Harbour, Dorset was accused of “flooding homes with light” and was compared to a cruise ship by local residents.

The issue of lighting is not the first concern raised by SOS. Previously concerns for the lives of people in the local area were raised when it was brought to light that lorries would be passing a primary school on Whitechapel Road.

Other problems highlighted by the group include the implications of a sharp increase in traffic projected for the area and the logistics of the entry system to the site. This sees HGV drivers allocated a one hour slot to access the site. Should they miss this, drivers will be told to leave the site and book a new slot calling into question where they will park. The applicant provided a list of eight locations where drivers can wait, only three of which include toilet facilities, though SOS argues in reality, there is only one.

It was expected that the application would be heard by Kirklees Council’s Strategic Planning Committee in December, though this was postponed with no alternative date provided at present.