'Amazon dumps Gillmoss for Welsh tax breaks'

But city insists controversial warehouse plan is still a goer

Written by  The Confidentials | Follow @ | Tuesday, 23 October 2012 12:54

THE online shopping giant Amazon is reported to be about to abandon plans to bring hundreds of jobs to the city.

Amazon is no longer interested in building a controversial one million sq ft warehouse in Croxteth to serve as a North West distribution centre, according to a leading industry journal.

But today Liverpool City Council indicated it was the first it had heard of it, and a spokesman insisted the plans were pressing ahead.

The proposed site at Stonebridge Cross – the former Gillmoss Estate, off the East Lancs Road – had originally been earmarked for hundreds of new homes, the relocation of St John Bosco School, a new health centre, a park and supermarket.

Nevertheless, the council was said to be very keen on bringing Amazon to its 98-acre development site, despite the proposal provoking anger among residents who have watched as other plans for the area have fallen by the wayside in recent years.

Councillors had insisted the opportunity was too good to turn down.

Criticised

Now the logistics trade bible SHD Magazine claims that Amazon has had a change of heart over a move to Liverpool and is instead focusing its attention on two sites in Deeside, North Wales, which offer tax breaks for businesses.

The world's largest internet retailer was criticised recently for generating sales of more than £3.3bn in the UK last year but paying no corporation tax on the profits.

One of the Croxteth residents' objections to Amazon's prospective arrival had been that they were “not socially responsible”.

According to SHD, Cheshire developers Pochin recently submitted plans for a 1.3m sq ft logistics park at Deeside’s 170-acre Northern Gateway site. On the adjoining site Praxis Holdings has planning permission for 2.5m sq ft of warehouse development including a single unit up to 1m sq ft.

And SHD quoted Guy Frampton, director at CBRE, a commercial property and real estate advisor to Amazon, as saying: “There are numerous rumours floating around. Unfortunately I am unable to comment.”

Enterprise zone

But a city council spokesman told Liverpool Confidential that it was "still working hard with the developer to make this happen. On-going, regular dialogue with the developer and Amazon continues, on the basis that they will be coming to Stonebridge Cross. Talks are progressing and we’re working towards a positive outcome."

Earlier in the summer,  Amazon’s plans for a 1m sq ft warehouse at the Mersey Multimodal Gateway site, Halton, were halted after a judicial review of Halton Council’s planning consent.

The Deeside sites the company is now said to be looking at are in a Welsh government enterprise zone.

Amazon declined to comment.