Next to create around 1,000 new jobs after planning permission for new South Elmsall warehouse granted
The retailer Next has been given planning permission to build a new warehouse in South Elmsall, in a move which it says could create around 1,000 jobs for the area.
The company will expand southwards from the distribution centre it already has off Field Lane in the town, where hundreds of people are already employed.
Next told a local planning meeting on Thursday that the plans were necessary to help meet online demand for its clothes.
The meeting was told that although the development will take place on greenbelt land, "special circumstances" dictated that the plan was appropriate, given the potential economic benefit to South Elmsall.
To clear space for the new facility, a farmhouse lying opposite the current warehouse will be demolished and a nearby site for travelling showpeople will be moved 90 metres to the east.
Next representative Gary Robinson told the meeting: "We've worked closely with planning officers for a while and we've been able to make a number of positive amendments to the scheme.
"Firstly I'd like to emphasise that this isn't a speculative scheme, with uncertainty about who will occupy it and when.
"Next's online operations are growing faster than ever and we need the additional space today.
"Should planning permission be granted today we intend to start work as soon as we can."
Mr Robinson said the company had set itself an "ambitious target" of having the new warehouse at least partially up and running by early 2022.
Around 650 of the jobs expected to be created will be full-time posts, with the remainder part-time.
Next said it will be looking to recruit a mixture of engineers, drivers, IT administrators, operatives and managers.
Objections to the scheme had originally been lodged by families living on the nearby travelling showpeople site and by Environmental Health.
However, these were later withdrawn after a plan to relocate the showpeople on another similar-sized site was agreed.
The committee was told that the travelling showpeople were happy with the new arrangements and that they would not face any extra costs by moving.
The company will be asked to provide annual reports to Wakefield Council for a number of years to demonstrate they have fulfilled promises with regards to job creation.
Mr Robinson said Next wanted local people to fill the vacancies "wherever possible".
Local Democracy Reporting Service