A PARCEL ‘super hub’ which will be the largest in Europe has been given the go-ahead by Barnsley Council’s planning board - despite campaigners accusing the local authority of ‘underhand and manipulative’ tactics in order to push the scheme through.
Hermes’ plan for ‘Colossus’ related to a former green belt site off Sheffield Road in Hoyland on land earmarked for employment use, and will be capable of processing 1.3 million parcels per day.
At a meeting of the planning board on Tuesday - which was held virtually - councillors were told the delivery giant would be acting quickly at the 363,000sq ft venue and will be fully operational by 2022.
Spokesperson Katrina Hulse said: “This site is allocated for employment use in the council’s own local plan, and full permission is sought for a Hermes super hub.
“There are considerable economic and social benefits with this scheme, as it will provide 1,300 jobs and pump £58m into the local economy during the build phase.
“As well as this, £30m will be invested in the local area’s infrastructure, notably a new link road which will effectively unlock the wider site.
“This is a long-term commitment, a 20-year lease, which in these times is especially notable. Hermes want to build in Barnsley and, by the third quarter of 2022, they will be fully operational.”
The scheme also includes associated works including the link road, landscaping and a new roundabout, as well as an £800,000 investment to relocate Rockingham Sports Ground to Parkside, Hoyland.
Residents living nearby - who have registered an 1,800-strong petition as well as 96 individual responses - complained about increased traffic, pollution, poor quality jobs, lack of infrastructure and the size of the development which will have a 650-space car park and room for 595 HGVs.
Spokesman Neil Thompson said: “There simply was not enough time for people to comment on the application during its so-called public consultation phase - this will end up in people moving away from the area as we have seen already.
“The benefits are offset by significant negatives with regards to issues such as pollution, schools and roads, which will be dangerous. This is the area’s last piece of open land.
“We believe the council’s acted in a manipulative way and the wider communities of Birdwell, Tankersley and Pilley will all be harmed by their underhand tactics which residents across the borough are becoming more aware of.”
The issue of HGVs clogging up nearby routes into the site was brought up by members of the board, but the council’s highways team confirmed a ‘suite’ of enforcement measures will be brought in should this come to fruition in the future and it was deemed the facility had sufficient parking.
Sixteen members voted for the plan, with just two against, and permission was granted.
Martijn de Lange, chief executive at Hermes, added: “Colossus is strategically located near the motorway, close to several of Hermes’ retail customers’ distribution sites.
“This means that later cut-off times for collections will be provided.
“Our continued investment to strengthen our network and infrastructure across the UK is laying the foundations for future growth, creating more employment opportunities and confirming our position as an industry leader.”