Covid stockpiling results in shortage of warehouse space in Wakefield, Mid Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce chief says

Stockpiling during Covid has caused a shortage of warehouse space in the Wakefield district, it's been claimed.

Thursday, 1st July 2021, 1:42 pm
Updated Thursday, 1st July 2021, 1:44 pm
The Wakefield district is heavily reliant on the logistics sector.

Businesses are finding room to store goods is increasingly at a premium, the managing director of the Mid Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, Martin Hathaway, said.

A rise in online shopping during the pandemic is thought to have contributed to the shortage.

Mr Hathaway made the comments at a Covid recovery board meeting on Monday, which was attended by senior councillors, the local NHS and charity representatives.

Mr Hathaway said he'd heard of similar issues across the rest of Yorkshire.

Offering an update on the performance of businesses in Wakefield he said: "There's a shortage of land for development and warehousing in the area.

"Stockpiling has continued and that's created a real warehousing shortage.

"We've heard of one developer who's switched the use of land he had planning permission for from housing to warehousing because he'll make more money that way.

"That's hearsay at the moment, but speaking to my colleagues across Yorkshire, they've encountered similar stories.

"It's a strange thing."

The Wakefield district is heavily reliant on the logistics industry, with a large number of local people employed in warehouses.

At one point earlier this year, around 40 per cent of new Covid cases were thought to be coming predominantly from those places of work, because staff in those industries can't do their jobs from home.

Wakefield Council's corporate director for economic growth, Mark Lynam, said: "It doesn't surprise me, what Martin's described.

"Our patch is an obvious area where somebody would want to do that (build a warehouse instead of residential housing)

"We haven't heard of any specific cases, but it wouldn't surprise me that anyone would want to do that given the strong demand for logistics, which is only going to increase."

Local Democracy Reporting Service