A scheme for a massive warehouse complex and facility on the outskirts of Bradford would create well over 2,000 new permanent jobs for the region. And the huge construction project would in itself creates somewhere in the region of 1,800 direct and indirect jobs for the duration of the build and fit-out.
By Damian Holmes
The proposed development is strongly believed to be for Amazon, although the online retail giant has yet to confirm that. The 23-metre-tall structure would be built just off the M62 close to the Chain Bar junction. And although there has been some concern about the impact of the scheme on the local landscape, the company behind it says it would have a hugely beneficial effect on the local economy.
As well as the 1,500 full time jobs created on the site – which would be big enough to have its own bus shuttle service for staff – the firm that has submitted the application says it would also create almost 800 new jobs indirectly.
Bristol-based development company ISG Retail has now submitted an application to Kirklees Council to build the huge storage and distribution warehouse on land between Whitehall Road, Whitechapel Road and the M62 between Scholes and Cleckheaton.
The site is currently fields and is flanked by Cleckheaton New Cemetery and Beardsworths Nursery and Garden Centre to the west, while also overlooking Cleckheaton Golf Club.
That application process follows an online consultation it has carried out with local residents, which has included webinair sessions. If agreed, the plans would see the currently greenfield site replaced with the 23-metre tall, 265,706 sq metre warehouse. The scheme includes hundreds of parking spots for lorries and other vehicles and a bus terminal for a “private shuttle service for staff”.
The mega-warehouse which would have 695,000 sq ft of floor space on the ground floor, and with an additional three and a half upper floors, a total floor space of almost 2.9 million sq ft. The location has been allocated for development for employment in the Kirklees Local Plan, and the 1,500 jobs on site would be in a range of areas including engineering, IT, management, and shop floor.
The plans are now waiting to go before councillors on Kirklees Council, with the local authority’s own public consultation process now set to go on until the end of August. After that, it will go before councillors to make a decision.
In their submission to Kirklees, ISG states: “The proposal demonstrates a positive opportunity to enable and encourage the growth of business investment and new job creation on a major allocated employment site in Cleckheaton.
“The new development will provide an increase in jobs in the local area both during construction and while in use. This will stimulate a positive economic change for the local area.”
ISG says in its planning statement: “Once completed the development is envisaged to provide approximately 1,500 direct jobs, which will comprise a range of opportunities, from entry level warehouse roles through to skilled technical and managerial positions.
“In addition, some indirect jobs are likely to be created through additional spending on goods and services by the operator. These are estimated to be approximately 795 within the region.”
The statement also talks about the impact of the construction work on the jobs market.
“During the construction phase, the proposed development will also provide a large number of job opportunities,” the statement says.
“It is estimated that the construction of the project will support approximately 800 direct jobs and a further 1,000 indirect jobs during the construction phase through the supply chain.
“The proposed development provides a significant opportunity to optimise the potential of this employment-allocated site which, once developed, will provide a significant boost to the local economy.
“The development represents a real and exciting opportunity to boost the local economy, delivering a significant number of jobs whilst also delivering social and environmental benefits. A thorough assessment of the proposal has been undertaken, and the proposal complies with the relevant policies.
“The proposal successfully contributes to the achievement of sustainable development, helping to fulfil the three principal component roles set out in the NPPF (National Planning Policy Framework ) – economic, social and environmental.”
In a supporting statement on the socio-economic benefits of the scheme, consultants Hatch say that approval of this scheme alone would help the local authority hit 6% of the overall target figure targeted in the local plan for employment, as well as creating an incredible15% of the employment floorspace the plan targets.
It states: “The proposed development aims to stimulate positive economic change in the local and sub-regional area, increase the diversity of local employment and supply chain opportunities and forms part of a regional and national network of warehousing and distribution units currently being developed by the end user.
“This will be a large, automated storage and distribution warehouse facility similar to those being operated by storage and distribution operators across the UK.”
Hatch states that the scheme would support an average of 1,800 temporary construction jobs over the 15 months or so the build takes as well as the further 1,500 full time roles on site and a further 795 off site in the region.
The construction spend would be around £135.2m per year, and the value of the scheme to the region’s economy is estimated as around £76m per year, with a further £53m for off-site employment impacts.
It would create a skilled and flexible workforce in the area both during construction and once it was operational.
Its report concludes: “It is apparent that the benefits of the proposed development are wide ranging and will make a meaningful contribution to achieving the economic objectives in place locally and regionally.”