A 150-acre expansion of the innovative park will create more ground-breaking animal reserves bringing new species to the Park, enhanced visitor facilities and provide a huge boost for the local economy.
Lakes, reserves and diverse habitats will be introduced in the expansion so the park can become home to more animals and springboard the park’s efforts to help at-risk species.
Landscaped walkways and dynamic viewing areas will give visitors an amazing experience.
There will be a phased introduction of the animal reserves which represent 3 key zones Africa, Asia and South America, with habitats within the zones including South American Pacific, South American Panatal, Asian Forest and African Valley amongst others as part of a 5 year Masterplan.
A bridge and walkway over the existing wetlands will link the new 150 acre site with the current Yorkshire Wildlife Park site.
The park, at Branton, near Doncaster, is in talks with the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria stud book keepers who coordinate the breeding programmes for endangered animals and their movement between zoos in Europe.
This will confirm which new species will be introduced to YWP to continue its conservation efforts which have been instrumental in protecting a range of endangered animals.
The outline consent granted earlier this year provided a series of development parameters across the animal reserves and visitor areas and full detailed planning consent for the entrance and car parks.
The parameters, which are strictly controlled by Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council established the principle of the development, access arrangements along with the maximum building height of buildings.
The detailed proposals are being developed entirely within these parameters as approved by the Planning Committee.
The nature of YWP requires extensive sympathetic landscaping to ensure an immersive visitor experience, and this becomes the key feature.
YWP has worked closely with ecologists to develop the landscape, which aims to protect the landscape and biodiversity assets of the area, enhance and promote the existing ecological values of the surrounding site and create new habitats and landscape features such as new trees, planting, pools and wetlands.
YWP, which attracted more than 88,000 children last year to learn about wildlife and the environment, is already home to more than 400 animals from more than 60 species and plays a vital role in international breeding and research programmes.
Existing favourites at the Park include Lion Country, Land of the Tigers, Project Polar and Into Africa and the team are looking forward to establishing new areas with distinctive landscapes, planting and enrichment features for the animals.
Further details will shortly be released on the design, appearance and materials of the enhanced visitor facilities including restaurants, the new hotel and shops, which will replace the current Safari Village at the entrance to the Park.
This area features three courtyard areas with gardens and architecture in keeping with the natural theme of the park. Hundreds of trees and bushes will be planted to screen areas and the extra car parking spaces that will cater for increased visitor numbers.
Visitors will enjoy the natural environment, relaxing by the lakes, a Bamboo Maze, Play Areas and an interactive outdoor area to learn about different environments.
The park employs over 300 local people and has contributed Â£12.2 million to the economy with visitor numbers of 750,000 per annum. With the expansion, the number of local jobs is likely to double.
John Minion, CEO commented, “We are proud of what we have achieved so far and thankful for the support we have had from the local community and businesses along the way to create a wildlife park with an international reputation and an attraction that appeals to all the family. We now want to establish a landmark destination that contributes to conservation, our visitors’ appreciation of animal life and is a positive part of the economy and our community.”
The detail of the design elements of animal reserves and the built environment will shortly be submitted to DMBC as a Design Guide and Reserved Matters Applications as requested in the conditions of the consent granted by committee in January 2018 under reference 17/02189/OUT. YWP aims to deliver a world class visitor attraction of which the people of Doncaster can be proud.