VIDEO: Plans for Â£50m expansion of Doncaster's Yorkshire Wildlife Park approved
Plans for a Â£50 million expansion of Doncaster's Yorkshire Wildlife Park have been given the green light.
The redevelopment of the Branton site will see the popular visitor attraction double in size along with the workforce which will grow from 300 to 600 staff.
In addition to more land for animals, there is expected to be a hotel, shops, and a new access route via the new Finningley And Rossington Regeneration Route Scheme.
The scheme was approved at a council planning committee meeting at Doncaster's Civic Offices this afternoon.
John Minion, chief executive officer of the park, said: "We are very excited about this next stage of our life and this is a game changer for Yorkshire Wildlife Park in Doncaster and the surrounding area. It will also be a great asset and we look forward to working with the local community."
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.”
Doncaster mayor Ros Jones 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.”
Councillors voted three in favour of the plan, with two against and one abstention.
Auckley residents had opposed the application over concerns about traffic arrangements and submitted 108 individual objections.
However the scheme also received 463 signatures in support and Kelvin Fitton, former chairman of Doncaster Chamber of Commerce, praised the park for contributing significantly to the town's economy.
The work is expected to take two years to complete.
The park opened in 2009 and is currently home to 400 animals from 80 different species - including England’s only polar bears.