A £50million expansion of the Yorkshire Wildlife Park has been given the go-ahead by planners.
The scheme will see 150 acres transformed into an extension of the Doncaster attraction.
There will be 300 further jobs at the park once work is completed - including 70 that are being advertised this week.
“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” said CEO John Minion.
“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, approved by Doncaster Council yesterday, 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 facilities such as restaurants, shopping and a destination hotel, as well as a visitor hub at the new entrance on Hurst Lane.
The park, in the village of Branton, will convert land adjacent 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.
“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 reserves,” added Mr Minion.
There will be an expanded education programme at the park, which has already delivered sessions to 33,000 children.
YWP has conducted impact assessment schemes, liaised with the public and worked with expert consultants and Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council to develop the plans.
The attraction opened eight years ago on the site of a farm and riding school.
It currently employs 300 local people and has contributed approximately £12.2 million to date to the local economy with visitor numbers rising steadily to a record 761,000 last year.