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Rural energy park plan pledges a jobs bonanza

HIGH HOPES: Rob Cawkwell, project director of Sewell Investments, shows Hedon Town councillor
Terry West the plans

  By Gina Hobbs and Ray Duffill  
HOLDERNESS could be set for a multi-million pound energy and data park with top business giants generating more than 1,000 jobs on the former Hedon Aerodrome.
Outline plans for the proposed £200 million Yorkshire Energy Park off Staithes Road within Preston South parish close to the Saltend complex are expected to be submitted on Monday (May 22) to East Riding of Yorkshire Council. Backers say on top of the potential for 1,000 operational jobs the development could also see 120 construction jobs a year over a 10-year build programme.
Sewell and Eco Parks Developments has teamed up with London based development group Chiltern, to deliver the scheme and has earmarked the site
owned by Hull City Council and straddles the East Riding boundary on green belt land.
Mobile communications giant Vodafone and global data company IBM are among a number of high profile international companies supporting the venture.
They also include energy company SSE, telecoms and equipment specialists ZTE UK Ltd, L&G Investment Management and the Association of British Insurers (ABI). Hull College is also said to be supporting the business enterprise.
Experts claim if it goes ahead it could generate a multi-million pound investment boost for the Yorkshire and Humber economy with every £1 invested expected to have an impact of £3 on the local economy from the construction phase alone.
Lord Haskins, Chair of the Humber Local Economic Partnership (LEP), said: “The Yorkshire Energy Park would further strengthen our position as the UK’s Energy Estuary, building on the success of the recent Siemens investment.”
Chris Turner, Chairman of the Yorkshire Energy Park project, said: “With the level of corporate backing already committed to this project, the Yorkshire Energy Park has the potential to provide a major economic, education and training boost to this region and create a project template for the UK’s low carbon industrial future, as set out in the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper.”
The proposed development includes a high-security data centre which will have six times more capacity than existing provision in Hull and will be a unique facility comprising 400 data storage racks.
This will be a key storage area for cloud-based data.
If planning permission is granted the high-tech green development will include its own power station supplying energy to the site. Facilities earmarked include a business park and education campus complete with research and development resources, a building materials test centre and on-site residential
Proposals were first mooted last summer and since then a series of public consultation meetings have taken place resulting in a number of changes with more drop-in sessions planned.
This includes the relocation of the Eastside Community Sports Trust to the west of the site with an, energy-efficient new build to reduce the operational costs.
Rob Cawkwell, Project Director from Sewell Investments, said the overall scheme meets the requirements for the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper.
“This underutilised site is regionally unique in that it has the benefit of size and direct access to natural gas and electricity infrastructure. We have spent
almost 1,000 hours listening to and briefing stakeholders, and taken on board the comments and points raised, which are clearly reflected in the outline planning submission,” he said.
“On the back of extensive community engagement, we have extended the green buffer zone by almost 50 per cent.
“Over the life of the development, that area is protected such that we will never build on it and it will be reserved for birds and wildlife.”
He added traffic management, flood mitigation measures have been considered and the views of the churches in Hedon, Preston and Paull, referred to locally as the Three Sisters will be protected.
East Riding Council’s South West Holderness Ward Councillor John Dennis said: “I’m not in favour of this development, as local people well know, and I will be again campaigning on the matter in months ahead, including speaking at the planning meetings in Hedon and at County Hall.”
Hedon’s former Mayor Cllr Neil Black said: “The residents and town and parish councils were consulted over a period of five years by the East Riding of Yorkshire Council on the recently adopted Local Plan which has this land designated as open space, not development land.”
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