A £50 million expansion plan for Yorkshire Wildlife Park was approved by local councillors yesterday.
The scheme will extend the park by 150 acres, allowing it to increase its collection of over 400 animals from more than 80 species, many of which are endangered.
Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council’s planning committee agreed outline permission after a report recommended the plan’s approval.
The application, first revealed in June last year, covered the change of use of a 150-acre parcel of land adjacent to Yorkshire Wildlife Park’s current facilities in Branton, South Yorkshire. It included detailed planning for a new entrance and car parks as well as outline plans for new animal reserves, lakes and landscaping and a visitor support hub at the new entrance. The park also plans to add restaurants and a destination hotel.
John Minion, CEO of Yorkshire Wildlife Park, said: “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.
“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.”
Yorkshire Wildlife Park was founded in 2009 and is developed on 100 acres of its 300-acre site. It currently employs 300 people with the expansion expected to double the workforce. The park has helped protect endangered species such as Amur Tigers, Leopards and African Painted Dogs. It welcomed 761,000 visitors in 2016.
Ros Jones, Mayor of Doncaster, said: “The Yorkshire Wildlife Park (YWP) 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.”
Image: Jason Parrish