Cleckheaton Amazon warehouse plans: Public told they will not have 'any official help' to understand documents on proposal they oppose

The public will not be given any official help to understand plans for a suspected Amazon warehouse near Cleckheaton.

An artist's impression of the proposed warehouse

Opposition is growing to what is believed to be an Amazon distribution centre earmarked for farmland close to junction 26 of the M62 motorway.

An action group has been formed and newly-elected Batley & Spen MP Kim Leadbeater has said she will back residents who have voiced their disquiet.

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But local Liberal Democrats who asked Kirklees Council to consider appointing staff to guide groups and individuals through their questions, and to advise on planning protocols, had their plea rebuffed.

In a written question to a meeting of full council (July 14) they were told that the procedures in place to deal with the plan were “appropriate” despite the size, scale and scope of the development.

Senior councillor Peter McBride (Lab, Dalton) said: “It’s not the business of this council or any other body other than the planning committee to deal with the application.”

Coun John Lawson (Lib Dem, Cleckheaton) argued that the warehouse and distribution facility was “one of the biggest applications that have come to the borough.

“There are 50-plus associated documents. I just wonder how a member of the public who is going to be impacted mightily by this huge development is going to negotiate these documents.

“What could you consider putting in place to assist them?”

Coun McBride suggested: “Your additional concerns may relate to the fact that you objected to this site being used for this purpose in the first place.”

The 59-acre sloping site between Whitehall Road, Whitechapel Road and the M62 will be entirely given over to the facility - which will be a third of a kilometre long, 178m wide and 23m high - as well as space for nearly 200 HGVs and 900 cars and vans.

That has lead to concerns that local routes - including the Chain Bar junction - could become clogged. In pure employment terms the proposed warehouse could provide 1,500 jobs.

Ms Leadbeater said local people campaigning against the development must be given “all the relevant facts” and that planning applications should never be shrouded in secrecy.

She intends to raise the issue in parliament next week. An action group, Save Our Spen, has also been formed to harness local opposition to the plans.

Ms Leadbeater said: “Planning decisions, large or small, should be made with the utmost transparency and local people should never be kept in the dark about proposals that could have a huge impact on where they live.

“The fact that we don’t even know for sure that it is an Amazon warehouse cannot be right.”

The application is expected to come before Kirklees Council ’s Strategic Planning Committee later this month.