Developer Wykeland Group has presented major landscaping, ecological and biodiversity measures as part of plans for a 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 from the village of North Ferriby.
The event was joined by 200 local residents, including some who took part by phone, 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 presentation and Q&A was held last night to enable residents to find out more and ask questions about the proposed development on Plot E at Melton West.
It was held as a Zoom Webinar to ensure as many people as possible could take part in view of Covid restrictions and was open to all members of the public. The event was hosted by independent presenter David Parkin, a former Business Editor of the Yorkshire Post.
Invitations to attend were distributed to 2,500 households in North Ferriby, Melton and Welton, together with the latest Melton West newsletter, containing updates on activity at the business park and detailed information on the Plot E planning application. Details of how to join the event were also widely distributed digitally.
The Wykeland presentation covered details on 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 lasting more than four hours.
In total more than 100 questions were posed, in advance, via the Zoom Webinar chat function or directly live during the event, with all of them answered by representatives of Wykeland and the team of expert consultants who have advised on the development. All the questions submitted in advance or asked on the night will be passed on to the local planning authority, with responses from the development team.
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.
In addition, Wykeland is working with East Riding of Yorkshire Council to put in place a Wildlife Enhancement Plan for the site.
The Zoom Webinar followed an earlier online meeting of North Ferriby Parish Council and local residents in late September when Wykeland explained that it was preparing a planning application and in negotiations with a global logistics operator for Plot E.
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.
“It’s important to stress that there will be no loss of woodland in Long Plantation and the Wolds Way which runs through it is legally protected and will not be changed.
“This will create a very special area for the enjoyment of local residents and employees on the business park alike, which will be protected and maintained for generations to come.”
Mr Gibbons added: “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.”
In addition, at the request of East Riding of Yorkshire Council, Wykeland has agreed that the development will go to the Planning Committee at the earliest on 4th February, rather than the previous mid-January date.
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 end user from several competing locations across the North of England for the £150m 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.