Amazon warehouse plans: Kim Leadbeater urged to get behind residents stepping up fight against development

Newly-elected Kim Leadbeater has been urged to “use her weight” to help stop a vast Amazon warehouse being built on farmland close to the M62 near Cleckheaton.

How the proposed Amazon distribution centre could look
How the proposed Amazon distribution centre could look

Newly-elected Kim Leadbeater has been urged to “use her weight” to help stop a vast Amazon warehouse being built on farmland close to the M62 near Cleckheaton.

Formal plans have now been submitted by ISG Retail Ltd (Bristol) for the storage and distribution unit, which will include offices, car parking, servicing, landscaping and access, on a 59-acre site close to housing.

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

Described by critics as “absolutely monstrous”, it is equivalent in height to an eight-storey tower block and the length of three full-size football pitches side-by-side.

Ms Leadbeater, who was elected on July 1 as the new Labour MP for Batley & Spen, has previously sympathised with residents and said much-loved green spaces should not be “traded” for jobs.

She has now urged Amazon to “engage in proper public consultations without any further delay”.

Residents have written to her asking that she “lever as much influence as possible to Kirklees Council [and] add your weight to stop this proposed development.”

Locals have now formed the action group Save Our Spen (SOS) to fight the development, which they say will blight the area and compound existing issues with heavy traffic on local roads, including the A58.

The group has also been liaising with people in other parts of the country that have had similar large-scale warehouses built in their areas to gain an insight into the planning process and the developer’s tactics.

A spokesperson for SOS said they hoped Ms Leadbeater would continue her support for their cause.

They said the sheer size of the warehouse scheme did not comply with Kirklees Council’s controversial Local Plan, which was adopted two-and-a-half years ago.

“When they reduced the size of the development area they reduced it to 10.68 hectares or 26 acres.

“They also gave it a capacity of 37,380sqm of employment space.

“This proposal is in excess of 275,000sqm.

“There is so far removed from being in line with the Local Plan that we don’t think it should even be considered. It should be rejected. It’s so far off the scale that it’s unrecognisable.”

Speaking to the Local Democracy Reporting Service Ms Leadbeater said: “As I made clear during my campaign I cannot support the current plans for this site.

“Before this proposal goes any further there must be a full and open discussion between the developers, local residents and the council.

“The impact on the local environment, the road network and air quality are very concerning but at this stage the most important thing is to have complete transparency so local people can get all the facts.

“If Amazon is indeed the company behind the development they should say so now and engage in proper public consultations without any further delay.”