Evri warehouse: Leader defends giving green light to huge warehouse by saying people need jobs to get out of poverty

Barnsley Council’s new deputy leader has defended the council’s decision to grant permission for a Hermes warehouse in Hoyland following criticism of the scheme.

Parcel giant Hermes, now renamed Evri, announced last year that 1,400 jobs will be created when it opens its £60 million “colossus” hub in Hoyland this year.

In April 2021, protesters planted a tree at the site of the the 363,000sq ft facility, named colossus, which will process up to 1.3 million parcels a day.

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Protesters at the time said the “destruction of the countryside” was “appalling”.

The planned Evri site in Barnsley

During a full council meeting at Barnsley town hall deputy leader and councillor for Rockingham, councillor Chris Lamb, said “Myself and my other ward colleagues received a great deal of personal criticism in terms of the Hermes development.

“And for many, many months as that development was ongoing, there was accusations of all sorts of unpleasantry – however…..of course, everybody has the right to comment, everybody has the right to their views.

“Those sorts of jobs have never been available in Rockingham Ward up to this point,” he added.

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Sir Steve Houghton CBE, leader of the council added: “The way out of poverty, the way to give you and your family a better future is to have a job. More important is to have a better paid and a well paid job.

“We won’t get his borough into a place that we need it to be if we do not have those employment sites. You cannot build a borough on a benefits system. You have to build it on people in work.

“That begins by a good education system to underpin it, so people can be the best they can be, and access the opportunities.

“Barnsley’s jobs historically were underground – we do not have the benefit, and it’s not a benefit, places like Sheffield and others did when their industries collapsed they were left with massive brownfield sites that could be rebuilt.

“That was not the case in Barnsley. The challenge for us over the last 20 years has always been continuously to find sites, and those are difficult, and they are not always welcomed and I understand that.

“But if we don’t make those changes, then the reality is, it will be more food banks, it will be more poverty, it will be more benefit advisors.

“We’ve been criticised for it, but we cannot steer ourselves away from that major objective.”