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Thursday, November 30, 2023

Amazon speaks out after rejection of Cleckheaton warehouse

Amazon has spoken out after their application for a huge warehouse at Scholes, Cleckheaton was refused on March 15th.

Since their inception, the proposals received a great deal of backlash, receiving almost 2,000 representations. The majority of these were objections, including those from local councillors and MP Kim Leadbeater, as well as residents.

Concerns ranged from noise and light pollution to increased traffic and the imposing nature of the building. Many of these issues were raised by the impassioned speakers at yesterday’s committee meeting where the application was refused by four votes to three.

A spokesperson for Amazon told Yorkshire Live: “We will now consider our options for this location.” Amazon could submit an appeal against the decision of Kirklees Council’s Strategic Planning Committee but no more detail has been provided on the matter.

Campaign group Save Our Spen (SOS) came together in response to the contentious application. The group painstakingly scrutinised countless documents uploaded by the applicant over the years and has released a statement following the application’s refusal.

A spokesperson for SOS said: “The decision today (March, 15) is a total vindication for the Save our Spen campaign against, what was always, an inappropriate planning application. It shows what can be achieved by a community when faced, with on the face of it, impossible odds.

“Some people said it was a done deal. Some people involved in this application thought we would run out of steam and just go away and the application would pass. They were so wrong.

“We could not have achieved this without the support of the residents of Scholes and the wider community.”

The group thanked all who have helped their campaign efforts including members of the Spen Valley Civic Society, independent consultants, councillors and MP Kim Leadbeater.

They added: “We may have, today, won this battle but the war may not be over just yet. Although we may have a wee celebration drink tonight, we know there is still a possibility of an appeal being submitted by the applicant.

“However, we are confident that the weight of evidence we have submitted and the number of reasons given to refuse this application will stand up to any challenge the applicants wish to make in the planning appeal. We are prepared for the next stage.

“Finally, to Kirklees Council, Save our Spen hope we have demonstrated that applications of this size should be decided with the community involved. Residents are not just third parties in the planning process, they are real people and their fears and concerns need to be respected and not ignored.

“The planning process should be open and transparent and above all unbiased. For a committee to be able to give a proper decision, the best evidence should be placed before them and due diligence is always carried out on claims made by the applicant.

“As for the future, Save our Spen hope to work with Kirklees Council to ensure any defence of an appeal is robust with all the supporting evidence produced by suitably qualified professionals. We would also welcome the opportunity to work with the Council to attract the high skilled and well-paid jobs, the type of jobs Kirklees really need, skilled manufacturing and light engineering with skilled apprenticeships. This is our aspiration for this land in our village.”

MP Kim Leadbeater has said she is “delighted” that the Strategic Planning Committee rejected the application and added: “I’m pleased the Committee did the right thing by the people of Scholes, Batley and Spen, and Kirklees as a whole. We must now await Amazon’s reaction to their failure to win approval but for now, the residents around the site can sleep more easily at night and continue to enjoy the benefits of living in this attractive corner of the constituency.”

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