Young people and families across the region say plans for a £200 million energy park should be given the green light as the development will secure long term opportunities and create sustainable jobs for the future.
The proposed £200 million Yorkshire Energy Park will create up to 4,480 jobs both through the construction and operational periods of the development, which will attract significant inward investment in the heart of the UK’s Energy Estuary.
A total of 120 construction jobs are expected to be created each year, alongside 60 indirect jobs over a 10-year construction phase.
In addition, the team behind the energy park plans has committed to targeting 80% employment from the local area and will set apprenticeship targets through the supply chain to create long term job prospects for local young people.
Meanwhile, the full time equivalent jobs once the park is operational could be up to 2,090 across a range of sectors including manufacturing, electricity, gas and air conditioning, construction, transportation and storage, information and communication, real estate, education, administrative and support services, and finance and insurance.
While a report released last week recommends the scheme for refusal, East Riding of Yorkshire Council’s Planning Committee will make a decision over whether the plans can go ahead Thursday, November 14.
The report states the proposals go against the Authority’s Local Plan, as the site isn’t allocated as employment development land. It also describes the development as “speculative” despite a raft of national and international brand names coming out in public support of the scheme and stating they will make the East Riding their next home, should Yorkshire Energy Park be given the go ahead.
Now, young people have shared their views on the energy park as they work towards their future goals and assess the potential opportunities available to them.
Max Hutchinson, 16, from Bridlington, is studying engineering manufacture, design, electronics, maths, English and science at Scarborough University Technical College (UTC) and said the Yorkshire Energy Park is a huge positive for the region.
He said: “The energy park is a good opportunity for young people to get jobs in the local area, rather than moving away and taking up a job somewhere else.
“I want to become an electrician and I think the energy park would open up a lot more opportunities for me.
“I would be really disappointed if it didn’t happen because it would take away the chance of thousands of jobs. It’s a really good thing for the area and something to look forward to.”
Plans for the proposed Yorkshire Energy Park on the former Hedon Aerodrome site have already received backing and interest from several multi-national and national businesses and brand names, as well as potential occupiers and investors.
This includes E.ON Germany, Asanti Data Centres, Dell, SSE, leading battery manufacturer BYD, leading manufacturer and distributor of high-quality waste and recycling solutions Straight Manufacturing Ltd, and infrastructure funder Legal & General.
The Humber Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), the region’s biggest business body, Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG) and Hull College Group have also announced their support for the development.
Abbi Fitzgerald, 17 from South Holderness, is currently studying engineering, maths, physics and art and hopes to go into engineering in the future.
She said: “The Yorkshire Energy Park would be a great addition to this region because there are not enough opportunities for future generations and it would give them more job prospects.
“At the moment, for me as an engineer, jobs are not available, so if I wanted to go into that area, I would have to move away. But with the Yorkshire Energy Park, I would be able to stay here.”
Reece Holme, 17, from Withernsea, is also studying engineering and said: “The energy park will be beneficial because it will create more job opportunities and it will bring more employers to the area.
“We have Siemens, which is good, but it would be great to have more companies offering opportunities through the energy park. We need more doors to be open in the future.”
The Yorkshire Energy Park development is proposed by locally-based Sewell Group, Hessle-based communications company MS3 Networks and development company Chiltern Group.
If planning permission is granted, it will include an energy centre, data centre and disaster recovery suite, space for established and start-up businesses, education, training and research facilities alongside associated short-stay accommodation, an outdoor building materials and testing facility, and new sports facilities for the community.
Jack Hewison, 17, is studying biology, applied science and engineering, and hopes to secure a job in conservation in the future.
He said: “Wildlife has been carefully considered in the Yorkshire Energy Park plans.
“It is difficult to choose a career as a young person and I think the Yorkshire Energy Park will inspire people to choose a career in different industries.
“It will help keep people and skills in this area, rather than them travelling to work elsewhere, or moving away.”
Parents have also spoken out about the opportunities the Yorkshire Energy Park could bring.
Hedon resident Andy Hardy, who works as an electrician and has two young children, said the development will broaden employment horizons and provide a boost for the region.
He said: “A construction programme of this size will massively benefit people in both traditional trades and new industries.
“Living in Hedon, with a young family, I’m keen to see this area develop. Yorkshire Energy Park will create opportunities not just for my generation, but for my kids’ too.”
Under the Yorkshire Energy Park plans, a multi-million pound programme of improvements to the A1033 will be implemented, which will include additional lanes and signaling to five junctions, delivered before the full business park becomes operational. New footpaths and cycle paths will also be delivered to improve access to Preston South and Hedon and measures have also been put in place to mitigate flood risk.
The site proposed for the development is the only available area on the north bank of the Humber where a presence of a significant connection to the National Grid exists, alongside a piped natural fuel supply already on the site. Due to this unique set up, reliable energy can be provided to businesses on the energy park at significantly less than market rates and energy can also be sold back to the Grid.
Less than half of the site is proposed for development, meaning more than 50% of green space will be retained, maintaining an almost half-mile gap between the development and Hedon.
A new 89-hectare wildlife area will provide an extra home for protected birds in a quiet grass and wetland habitat in the Sunk Island area of Holderness – proposals approved by Natural England, the public body which ensures the natural environment is conserved, enhanced and managed.
In addition, East Riding of Yorkshire Council will also benefit from £3.5m of business rates per year, once the park is fully operational.
[Gaby Fletcher – Sewell Group]