New potential tenants for the proposed £200 million Yorkshire Energy Park site have been announced as a decision over the plans draws nearer.
East Riding of Yorkshire Council’s Planning Committee is expected to decide in the coming weeks whether plans for the energy park development on the former Hedon Aerodrome site can go ahead – a decision which could create up to 4,480 jobs across a wide range of sectors if the green light is given.
Now, a number of new potential occupiers and investors have announced their support for the plans and, subject to planning approval, plan to make it their home, recognising the potential of resilient energy at circa 20% less than current market rates, alongside the education, research and development opportunities of the scheme.
Among the interested parties is leading manufacturer and distributor of high-quality waste and recycling solutions Straight Manufacturing Ltd. Commercial heads of terms have also been agreed with a European prefabricated construction company and a battery manufacturing business, again subject to planning permission.
A letter of appointment has been signed with a project multi utility provider and talks are underway with a Venture Capital Fund over the sale of two to three acres of the site to enable new energy businesses to grow.
Meanwhile, further enquiries from companies which are new to the Humber region have been received and letters of support from major businesses, groups and leading business figures in the region have been submitted.
Local residents are also in favour of the proposed development as illustrated by the planning portal letters (325 support vs 204 objections as of October 2019).
This support and interest comes after several multi-national and national brand names have already backed the plans. Major businesses already interested in what the energy park has to offer include E.ON Germany, Asanti Data Centres, Dell, SSE, leading battery manufacturer BYD, and infrastructure funder Legal & General, as well as the backing of Humber Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), the region’s biggest business body, Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG) and Hull College Group.
Yorkshire Energy Park Project Director Claire Harrison said: “It is unusual for businesses to commit to a scheme ahead of a positive planning determination, so this support, both existing and new, shows how unique the Yorkshire Energy Park offer is and provides an indication of demand should the scheme secure planning permission in the coming weeks.
“The businesses committed to the development are coming to do more than just business.
“They are all keen to work with our education partners to develop future generations and, critically, they are committed to recruiting locally.”
Established more than 20 years ago, Straight Manufacturing Ltd is at the forefront of supplying inventive waste and recycling solutions, such as bins, reusable containers and garden products, to its customers across the UK.
Its current Hull site employs around 100 local people and the new and additional facility at the proposed Yorkshire Energy Park site would be of a similar size.
Straight Manufacturing Ltd is part of IPL Plastics Inc, a leading sustainable packaging solutions provider, managing packaging products worldwide in the food, consumer, agricultural, logistics and environmental end markets, with its largest geographical markets in the UK, USA and Canada.
IPL’s operations include a network of 15 manufacturing facilities, seven corporate and sales offices, and four centres of excellence located in these countries, as well as Ireland, China and Mexico.
In a letter included as part of the updated planning documents, Stuart Butler, General Manager of Straight Manufacturing Ltd, said he wrote to express his “full support” for the Yorkshire Energy Park development.
Mr Butler said: “As part of the Group’s growth plans, we are seeking additional premises and have been in detailed dialogue with the developers at Yorkshire Energy Park to explore 75,000 sq ft of manufacturing space, with adjoining office space and external storage.
“Having explored several locations across the UK, we are keen to take advantage of the exclusive nature of the private wire agreement, opportunities for research and development, as well as the data infrastructure the Yorkshire Energy Park business park will provide us with.
“We would welcome the opportunity to make the East Riding of Yorkshire our next business location, should the planning be approved.”
The Yorkshire Energy Park development, proposed by locally-based Sewell Group, Hessle-based communications company MS3 Networks and development company Chiltern Group, is situated in the heart of the UK’s Energy Estuary and will attract significant inward investment.
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.
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.
Under the plans, agreed with Highways England, a multi-million pound programme of traffic improvements to the A1033, one of Hull’s main roads, will be implemented to mitigate any traffic generated by the development, which will include improvements to five junctions and road widening.
In addition to highways improvements, improved land drainage will be put in place, with the developed area of the Park storing enough surface water to withstand a one in 100-year rainfall event, as well as 40% climate change, through a network of ponds created on site.
The outline drainage strategy has been developed and approved with the Environment Agency, East Riding of Yorkshire Council and the Internal Drainage Board (IDB).
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, and a new 89-hectare wildlife area will provide an additional home for protected birds in a quiet grass and wetland habitat in the Sunk Island area of Holderness. These proposals are approved by Natural England, the public body that 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]