Approval for Yorkshire Wildlife Park expansion plans
The award-winning Yorkshire Wildlife Park’s £50 million expansion was given the green light by planners today signalling a massive economic boost for the region.
The exciting scheme will see 150 acres transformed into an extension to the innovative park, making it a world class tourist destination.
The scheme will create 300 jobs in the Doncaster region and continue to build on the park’s success story as a unique visitor attraction, animal conservation hub and crucial part of the local economy
“We are really pleased to hear the outline planning for the expansion has been granted. This is great because it’s going to create plenty more jobs for the local area. Come summer 2019, with the new expansion, we will employ a further 300 members of staff.” said CEO John Minion.
“We are very excited about this next stage of our life and this is a game changer for Yorkshire Wildlife Park, Doncaster and the surrounding area. It will also be a great asset and we look forward to working with the local community.”
The plans, approved by Doncaster Council today, will allow the development of new reserves and the introduction of new species to continue the park’s outstanding conservation and welfare work. There will be a wide range of supporting visitor facilities such as restaurants, shopping and a destination hotel will be created, as well as a visitor hub that will be designed at the new entrance at Hurst Lane.
The park, at Branton, will convert adjacent land to its current site for the expansion so it can increase its collection of over 400 animals from more than 80 species, many of them endangered.
“All of this will attract a wider audience from around the country and also be a wonderful resource for local people, who will be able to access the facilities before the entrance to the Wildlife Park reserves,” added Mr Minion.
The park is speaking to local colleges and schools about job, apprentice and work experience opportunities while its education department will be increasing its acclaimed work, which has delivered education sessions to 33,000 schoolchildren.
YWP has conducted impact assessment schemes, liaised with the public and worked with expert consultants and Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council to develop the expansion plans.
The park, which was founded eight years ago, has won an international reputation for creating innovative animal reserves and championing conservation and animal welfare.
It currently employs 300 local people and has contributed approximately £12.2 million to date to the local economy with visitor numbers rising steadily to a record 761,000 last year.
“Leisure has become a key part of the Doncaster story. Our development is located close to Doncaster Sheffield Airport, Doncaster Racecourse and the new proposed PGA Golf course at Rossington. This will provide a critical mass of world class tourist attractions and bring an international audience to Doncaster,” said YWP director Cheryl Williams.
Sir Gary Verity, Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, said: “This is a very exciting development for the team at Yorkshire Wildlife Park who have done a fantastic job developing the attraction since it opened in 2009. This expansion will enable more conservation work and protection of endangered species, and I have no doubt visitors to the park will benefit greatly from these expansion plans.”
Ros Jones, Mayor of Doncaster, added: “The Yorkshire Wildlife Park is a fantastic success story and a great asset for Doncaster. It offers a superb visitor experience, delivers valuable conservation work, and provides hundreds of jobs and a multi-million-pound contribution to our economy. I welcome this exciting expansion, which is testament to the hard work of everyone at YWP.”