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Big plans for 2013 and beyond
12:00am Tuesday 19th February 2013 in The York Report
The York, North and East Yorkshire landscape is not standing still. Despite the global recession, investment and developments are taking place and jobs are being created. These are some of the major projects taking place in 2013 and beyond.
International insurance provider Hiscox is to move into new offices in York, creating 300 jobs.
The new office complex, to be developed by York developers S Harrison, is expected to be completed in autumn 2014, initially housing 125 staff who will work from temporary offices in York during 2013. Once the new office opens, Hiscox plans to increase employment to 300, and the business has the option to extend its premises to accommodate 500 at a later date.
The £1.4 billion-turnover company is to move on to land at Hungate, alongside a new £18 million 262-bedroom hotel, which will create a further 100 jobs.
City of York Council has forecast the investment could have an annual impact on York’s Gross Value Added (GVA) of £21.4 million by 2014, through supply chain impacts, rising to £26.8 million GVA impact per year by 2026.
The investment in the city centre will provide opportunities for both high-skilled and lowerskilled workers in the city, the company has said, and it will work with the universities to provide higher-skilled job opportunities for graduates.
Hiscox, which is headquartered in Bermuda and London, is a £1.4 billion turnover business, which provides insurance against international catastrophes and more steady local and regional business.
The FTSE 250 company employs about 1,250 people across 28 offices in 11 countries, and also operates through Lloyd’s of London and Bermuda, underwriting global insurance and reinsurance business.
Hiscox is to move into part of the Hungate site owned by City of York Council. Hungate (York) Regeneration Ltd, which owns the rest of the ten acre site, has approval for a £130 million residential development with 720 homes.
Work on Hungate’s first 162 homes finished in 2009 but the scheme has since stalled over arguments concerning the developer’s obligations towards archaeology, open space, education, cycling, CCTV and a car club. Five phases remain, with the developers saying they could be completed by 2024 if all planning issues are resolved.
Plans for the world’s largest potash mine are expected to create thousands of jobs for North Yorkshire.
The proposed £1 billion potash mine would employ more than 1,000 people at Sneaton, just outside Whitby.
The 1,500-metre mine beneath the North York Moors National Park, which already has permission to mine underneath the North Sea, is believed to be the biggest in the world, containing 1.35 billion tonnes of high-grade polyhalite, which will be used as fertiliser.
A tunnel would be built from the mine so the polyhalite could be pumped underground to about 30 miles north to Teesside, where it would be processed.
If it is successful in obtaining planning permission, the mine could be built in three years and open in 2017. Thousands more jobs are expected to be created in its construction and in the wider supply chain.
A 6,000-seat community stadium, which would provide a new home for York City FC and York City Knights, has proven catalyst for further development at Monks Cross, where there is already an out-of-town shopping centre.
Proposals for the new stadium, on the site of the existing Huntington Stadium, will be submitted this year after plans for a £90 million ancillary retail development were approved last year.
Developers Oakgate (Monks Cross) Ltd hopes to start construction in the spring on the scheme, which will include John Lewis, Marks & Spencer and Next stores. Work on the stadium is expected to start in June 2014, meaning the venue will be open for the start of the 2015/16 sporting season.
Oakgate has said the scheme will create 1,000 new jobs and boost York’s economy by millions of pounds a year.
A link into the high-speed rail network for York has boosted hopes that the city’s York Central development could finally get under way.
The teardrop-shaped 30- 35 hectare site next to York city centre is the city’s largest development opportunity and is intended to house more than 1,000 new homes, offices and leisure and retail bases, as well as creating thousands of jobs.
The site is being planned in conjunction with the former British Sugar site and Manor School premises, which occupy about 42 hectares of brownfield and greenfield land, as York Northwest.
The scheme was halted in 2009 when landowners Network Rail, Yorkshire Forward and the National Railway Museum suspended their search for a developer in the face of the credit crunch. City of York Council has since bought the land from the former regional development agency Yorkshire Forward.
In November, the former Jarvis/ Fastline rail depot at Leeman Road was demolished to improve the appearance of the site and clear buildings that were in a poor state of repair.
The council has also submitted a bid to the Government’s critical infrastructure investment fund for support to start works on the site, and others in the city.
Terry’s Chocolate Factory
Redevelopment of Terry’s Chocolate Factory is hoped finally to go ahead after the site was sold to an undisclosed buyer.
The secret buyer has successfully bid to buy the Chocolate Works site, off Bishopthorpe Road, from Yorkbased developer Grantside, which put the site up for sale after the development stalled.
The site has planning permission for a £165million scheme including hundreds of new homes, hotels, shops, bars and a restaurant, all expected to create 2,700 new jobs.
The chocolate factory, where products such as the Terry’s Chocolate Orange were produced, closed in September 2005.
Grantside bought it for £26 million the follo wing year and the development was finally granted planning permission two-and-ahalf years ago, 18 months after the council controversially rejected the company’s original proposals.
City of York Council is currently moving into its new £32-million headquarters, which have been built in the converted former 1840s railway station, West Offices.
The development, a joint venture between York developer S Harrison and Buccleuch Property, has taken a year and eight months to transform and extend the site, which will accommodate 1,400 staff and a customer centre for residents.
The 149,000 sq ft new offices are expected to save the council more than £17 million over the next 25 years through efficiencies and will enable several other properties, such as St Leonards Place, to be freed for further development.
The Grade II-listed station was designed by GT Andrews in 1840 and was the vision of George Hudson, who later became Lord Mayor of York. Its boardroom will host council or public meetings.
The West Offices development also included the building of a new £10 million Hampton by Hilton hotel next to the council HQ and the development is part of a wider refurbishment of the station area, following the redevelopment of GNER’s historic headquarters building, also on Station Rise, into York’s first fivestar hotel in 2010.
The Grade II* listed building, now the Cedar Court Grand Hotel & Spa, was built between 1900 and 1906 and has always been home to railway businesses including British Rail, Northern Rail and Network Rail.
Olympia Park and Selby Marina
Proposals are being considered for a £300 million development in Selby.
Olympia Park, based on a 92-hectare site between Barlby Road and the Selby bypass owned by animal feed manufacturer BOCM Pauls, is proposed to include 985 homes, a supermarket and a school.
Selby is also planning a £50 million marina development which could encourage new retailers and shoppers to explore and revitalise the town.
The new development would include 381 new homes, including houses and apartments, six retail outlets including shops and restaurants, and a marina with space for 44 boats on the site of the old Rigid Paper Mill.
It is hoped the development would create at least 100 jobs, and become a regional attraction. A decision is due on the development in May.
Power giant Drax is to invest hundreds of millions of pounds and create thousands of jobs by converting the largest coal-fired power station in the UK into a predominantly biomass-fuelled power plant.
The company, whose power plant near Selby generates about seven per cent of the UK’s electricity, is to invest £700 million over the next five years in converting its plant to burn biomass, such as willow and straw, rather than coal.
The work is expected to create thousands of jobs in the supply chain, as well as 20 to 50 more jobs at the power station itself.
York-based Shepherd Group has already started constructing new fuel delivery, storage and distribution facilities, which are due to be completed in 2014.
Drax is also having new rail wagons designed and built and is extending its rail system so trains can go around the plant faster. It will also invest in the infrastructure of three to four ports to ensure it can source enough biomass from abroad.
The first converted unit is expected to start operating in the second quarter of 2013 and full conversion of the first three units is expected to more than halve Drax’s carbon output, from 20 to 22 million tonnes per year to ten to 11 million tonnes.
Fera and the Sand Hutton Applied Innovation Campus
A Government department has provided the catalyst for a hi-tech science park to crop up in Sand Hutton, just outside York.
The £3 million Applied Innovation Campus, based on Fera’s (Food and Environment Research Agency) site has attracted businesses requiring state of the art laboratory services and benefitting from collaboration with similar businesses and the agency itself.
Fera, which has just opened a new international Food Safety Testing Laboratory, secures the future of the UK’s food chain, carrying out research in areas such as pest control and food security.
The 18,000 sq ft complex, which is hoped to generate 100 hightech jobs, provides offices and laboratories for growing small and medium businesses across the life sciences, biotechnology and environmental sectors.
The campus is already home to Aptamer Solutions, which develops aptamers, which can be used instead of antibodies in medical testing, as well as Forsite Diagnostics, a company which develops medical tests and Forensic Access, a forensic science company which has worked on high-profile murder cases.