AMAZON is set to open its 30,000 square metre "sortation centre" in September, creating an initial 250 permanent jobs.

The online retail giant has taken one of the two distribution and industrial warehouses at the site, which was built on green belt land in Haydock, north of Florida Farm on Slag Lane.

Amazon had remained tight-lipped about locating in the St Helens borough but has now confirmed a recruitment process has begun ahead of opening.

The centre will sort parcels received from Amazon’s fulfilment centres before they are transported to delivery stations, where they are collected by drivers and taken to customers.

Seasonal and temporary recruitment at peak times, such as at Christmas, is expected to swell the number of people working there and it is understood the site has the capability to employ between 800 and 1,000 workers if demand grows.

The number of jobs being created at the unit, at least initially, is significantly less than the 1,000 touted by developers at planning meetings, a figure which was greeted with cynicism by residents who campaigning against the scheme.

Amazon says it hopes to "expand as business allows".

“We are delighted to be creating 250 permanent new jobs over the next 18 months in St Helens as we continue to develop our last mile logistics network, " said Kevin Marsh, general manager for Amazon Sortation UK Operations in a statement.

"This sortation centre will have an important role in supporting the fast and reliable delivery Amazon customers love and trust.

“We would like to thank everyone in St Helens and beyond for their support on establishing this new site.”

St Helens Star: Amazon's logo.

The initial plans for the scheme on Florida Farm sparked strong opposition, with more than 2,000 letters of objection sent to St Helens Council.

At a planning meeting last year, Bericote Properties, the site's developer, said that unit one would deliver 1,000 new jobs.

During the hearing in September 2018, Haydock councillor Martin Bond said he was “extremely sceptical” the scheme would deliver the forecasted number of jobs.

A second unit, which secured planning approval for 48,634 squared metre of commercial/industrial building, has also been constructed.

However, so far an occupier has not been announced for the development.