Jobs boost forecast in business park expansion

Chris Fraser, managing director and chief executive of Sirius Minerals
Chris Fraser, managing director and chief executive of Sirius Minerals
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A MAJOR expansion of the business park at Whitby will help provide more jobs opportunities and boost the economy in an area that is traditionally reliant on tourism and the fishing industry, a new report says.

The expansion plan, which it is hoped will be submitted for consideration by the Government at the beginning of next year, comes at a time when proposals are being muted for a major potash mine and the world’s largest offshire windfarm is being proposed off the Yorkshire coast, which the report authors say is a major driver behind the proposals.

It will shape future development within the business park area and has been prepared by officers from Scarborough Council and the North York Moors Park Authority. It will be debated by members of the council’s planning and development committee on Thursday before being further discussed in public.

Andy Skelton, director of service delivery at the council, says in a report prepared for the committee: “Failure to provide additional serviced land at Whitby Business Park will constrain economic growth, reduce the ability of the area to benefit from public and private sector investment and result in ad hoc planning decisions being made.”

Members will be told that statistics show that the coastal district under performs when compared to the rest of North Yorkshire.

Key features of the Whitby area’s economic profile include:

Hotels, restaurants and distribution account for 42 per cent of local jobs.

The majority of businesses have one to four employees.

In February 2012 10.5 per cent of all working age people were on work-related benefit.

The business park is set to be expanded by around 14 hectares. The town has traditionally relied upon the fishing and tourism industries but it is hoped that the expansion plan will attract new businesses which will offer a wide range of jobs and prevent people from having to travel outside Whitby to get a job.

If backed, the area action plan, which proposes expanding the current Whitby Business Park, on the outskirts of the town, will need to be submitted to the Government for consideration. The plans warn its expansion is needed to help the town tap into the potential benefits of proposed developments.

It says the development at Dogger Bank and other off-shore windfarms will offer “huge employment and economic growth opportunities for the UK in the servicing, supply and maintenance of these sites their equipment and personnel.”

The world’s largest off-shore wind farm is due to be built nearly 80 miles off the Yorkshire coast 
at Dogger Bank to generate up to 10 per cent of the nation’s electricity.

York Potash, the firm behind plans to create a potash mine near Whitby, recently announced it is now planning to submit an application in July next year to ensure environmental information for the entire project – including the proposed mine, pipeline, materials handling plant and port facilities – was all available at the same time.

Chris Fraser, the managing director and chief executive of Sirius, the parent company of York Potash, said at the time: “The new approach will reassure the decision-making bodies that sufficient information is available.”