Residents' anger as giant warehouse plan will see mature trees cut down

Healthy, mature trees are to be felled as part of a massive warehouse development.

Monday, 26th July 2021, 7:00 am
Businessman Dar Shivtiel says mature trees near his home will be felled as part of plans for a massive Amazon warehouse, leaving him facing “a metal-clad square boxy shed”

The move has sparked anger from locals who are already campaigning to stop the controversial scheme set for farmland at Scholes near Cleckheaton.

Recently elected Batley and Spen MP Kim Leadbeater is also against the proposal, which she raised last Monday in the House of Commons.

The warehouse and distribution facility, which has been linked to online retailer Amazon, will be a third of a kilometre long, 178m wide and 23m high.

An artist's impression of the proposed giant warehouse near Cleckheaton

It is earmarked for a 59-acre site between Whitehall Road, Whitechapel Road and the M62, where space will also be allocated for nearly 200 HGVs as well as 900 cars.

The 24-hour facility could provide 1,500 jobs. The site is allocated for employment use as part of Kirklees Council’s Local Plan.

Businessman Dar Shivtiel, whose restored Victorian villa on Whitechapel Road is partly screened from the site by trees, says he faces looking out onto “a metal-clad square boxy shed”.

And he says some of the trees to be chopped down carry tree preservation orders, or TPOs.

“The developers have requested as part of their plan that they are going to be removing just about all the trees that are on the site," he said.

“Some have TPOs. Kirklees Council are willing to overlook that.

“There’s absolutely no reason to get rid of these trees. Some of them are not even on the land [earmarked for the warehouse].”

Mr Shivtiel’s home is bounded by the M62. He says losing trees – some of which pre-date the motorway – will increase traffic noise and light into his property.

He added: “I am pragmatic about the land being used for employment but not for something that is so outrageously out of character with the area. It’s going to be a metal-clad square boxy shed.

“And I don’t believe that an automated warehouse will bring thousands of jobs. The risk is not worth the reward.

“Of course I’m not happy. It’s quite upsetting.”

Last Monday in her first intervention in the Commons following her by-election victory Ms Leadbeater asked Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick whether local people will be kept fully informed, and their objections taken seriously.

Mr Jenrick gave that assurance.

An action group, Save Our Spen, has also been set up to coordinate locals’ responses to the plan.