AS many as 750 jobs could be created on a disused airfield in a huge boost a Yorkshire city’s bid to establish itself as a centre for green energy.
Lateral Eco Park Hull Ltd has been set up to develop a biomass power station and attached eco park on the former Hedon Aerodrome, a 300-acre field, between Hull and Hedon, in a £250m to £300m development.
The project would also involve a data centre as well as fish farming and the growing of salad, vegetables and herbs, using the waste carbon dioxide and excess heat from the power station to speed up the growing process.
However, the proposals could fall foul of residents in Hedon who view the land – which is owned by the city council, but is in the East Riding – as a natural barrier between the town and city.
Sean McCormick, chief executive of Lateral Eco Parks Hull Ltd, said: “This is an exciting project for us that will help provide much needed jobs in the area.
“We are holding productive discussions with the local authorities to find the most appropriate proposal before we undertake further consultation with the wider community, but we look forward to delivering this development.”
Hull Cabinet member Coun Martin Mancey said: “Two of the key ambitions within Hull’s ten year City Plan are jobs and energy. This proposal could provide hundreds of jobs for the city, as well as being a sustainable energy source. The proposal is still at a very early stage, with discussions ongoing between us as the landowner of the site, and East Riding Council as the local planning authority.
“We are currently investigating the feasibility of the site for such a development before determining the most appropriate way forward.”
However, East Riding councillor John Dennis, who represents Hedon, said locals regarded the site “as a very important natural barrier between the eastern edge of Hull and the ancient town of Hedon”.
He said: “People have always wished to preserve that barrier and the green space between.”
Coun Dennis said in the draft local plan, which is in its final stages, East Riding planners had recommended for rejection any bids for development on the airfield site.
He added: “We would hope and expect East Riding planners to stick to their guns and recommend for rejection any application to develop the airfield site.”
And he questioned whether jobs would go to locals. “It won’t be local labour. The fact is that it is not local labour who work out there in those horticultural units.
“The idea sounds bonkers to me. If they don’t come and talk to local people about what they are proposing they will find themselves up against a tremendous amount of local opposition.”
Parent company Lateral Power, which describes itself as a group of UK and Canadian industry professionals, has said it wants to develop five eco parks in the UK and Ireland, including one in Anglesey, North Wales.