Developer Wykeland Group has presented major landscaping, ecological and biodiversity measures as part of plans for a £150m global retail logistics facility to a virtual meeting of local residents.
Wykeland set out proposals for the creation of a nine-acre biodiversity and wildlife corridor, which will enhance and extend the existing 35-acre Long Plantation woodland separating the development site at Melton West business park in East Yorkshire from the village of North Ferriby.
The event was joined by 200 local residents and ran for nearly four and a half hours. During the event, Wykeland presented new artist’s impressions of the biodiversity corridor, immediately adjacent to Long Plantation, showing how it will complement the existing tree belt.
Wykeland is working with Yorkshire Wildlife Trust to create the buffer zone, which will feature four interlinked acoustic bunds, a new one kilometre footpath with interpretive signage, connecting through to the Wolds Way at both ends, and extensive planting including 200 new trees, one and a half kilometres of new native hedgerow and over 40,000 new plants.
The event was held as a Zoom Webinar to ensure as many people as possible could take part in view of Covid restrictions. The Wykeland presentation covered various aspects of the development, including transport, noise, air quality, ecology, design and planning, and was followed by a Q&A session with local residents.
The new biodiversity corridor is an integral element of the planning application for the logistics facility and will contribute to around 40% of the site being retained as green space. It is among a series of ecological mitigation measures, including the creation of open water balancing ponds, which will maintain the wildlife species currently on site.
Wykeland Managing Director Dominic Gibbons said: “We fully appreciate local residents want to express their views on this development and we value their opinions.
“That’s why we wanted to set out to the local community the full details and context of these plans and the comprehensive mitigation measures we’re putting in place, including the creation of the biodiversity corridor, and why we spent so much time to answering questions from residents.
“The Zoom Webinar with local residents is part of a continuing process of consultation on this planning application.
“Earlier this week we distributed the latest edition of our Melton West newsletter, the majority of which was focused on this planning application, to 2,500 local households and we are presenting to Welton and Melton Parish Council on 15th December.”
The proposed state-of-the-art global retail logistics facility will create up to 1,500 direct jobs, with hundreds more in the supply chain and during the busiest months of operation. It will also support more than 1,000 jobs during construction, plus hundreds more in the construction supply chain.
The facility would provide a wide range of new employment opportunities, from warehouse roles through to technologists and logistics experts, as well as management, administration and finance roles.
The Melton West site has been selected by the unnamed end user from several competing locations across the North of England for the inward investment.
The development site has been zoned as a key, strategic location for major employment uses of this kind for nearly 25 years and was retained as this in the 2016 East Riding of Yorkshire Council Local Plan, following an extensive consultation process by the council.
Pending planning approval, it is anticipated that construction would begin next spring and the facility would be operational in autumn 2022.