Plans have been approved for a £50m expansion at Yorkshire Wildlife Park, company of Connect Yorkshire EIR Cheryl Williams, which will create around 300 new jobs.
The new scheme, approved by Doncaster Council, will see 150 acres transformed into an extension to the park to enhance facilities and increase the species of animals cared for.
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.”
The plans will allow the development of new reserves and the introduction of new species to continue the park’s 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.
Mr Minion added: “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.”
The park, which was founded eight years ago, currently employs 300 people and has contributed approximately £12.2m to date to the local economy with visitor numbers rising steadily to a record 761,000 last year.
Cheryl Williams, YWP director, commented: “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 expansion plans.”