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Major expansion plans from the company of Connect Yorkshire EIR, the Yorkshire Wildlife Park are set to bring 300 jobs to the region.

The park, near Doncaster, has secured 150 acres of land adjacent to its current site and is developing £50m plans to expand.

The Yorkshire Wildlife Park the expansion plans include new reserves and the introduction of more species to the park.

A new access road will be introduced through Hurst Lane as well as a visitor hub designed at the new entrance which could include a hotel,restaurants and shopping scheme, relocating the Safari Village shopping area already in existence.

YWP, in Branton, Doncaster, is currently developed on around 100 acres of its current 300-acre site and is home to over 400 animals from more than 80 species.

It currently employs 300 local people and saw visitor numbers rise to a record 761,000 during 2016.

CEO John Minion said: “We are very excited about this next stage of our life and believe it will be a game changer for Yorkshire Wildlife Park, Doncaster and the surrounding area. We have already contributed approximately £12.2m to the local economy. This is a major investment for us and will double our workforce, creating around 300 new jobs.

“Since opening we have also been able to contribute hugely to protecting endangered species such as Amur Tigers and Leopards and African Painted Dogs and our visitors share our passion to cherish wildlife and ensure its survival. This expansion will allow us to take our conservation work to another level. But providing an excellent visitor experience is the key to what we do. ”

Director Cheryl Williams added: “This could also be a game changing development for Doncaster.

“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.”

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 development plans.”

Mayor of Doncaster Ros Jones said “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 these exciting expansion plans, which are testament to the hard work of everyone at YWP, and I am sure they will see the park go from strength to strength.”

There will also be public consultation events on Friday June and Saturday June 17.

The project is still in its early stages and pre-application discussions with Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council are currently being held. Outline planning permission will then be submitted in the next few months.

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