A farm and a commercial forestry on the B1416 has been chosen as the location for a new potash mine, set to create more than 1,000 jobs.
Months of speculation today come to an end as York Potash, the company behind the proposals, confirms the exact location of the planned site, which sits in the North York Moors National Park, two kilometres south of Sneaton village, and four kilometres south of Whitby.
If planning permission is granted York Potash plans to develop 4.5 hectares of the 100 hectare site, which encompasses Haxby Plantation and Doves Nest Farm.
Deals have already been agreed with the land owners for York Potash to purchase the land for an undisclosed sum.
The announcement comes more than a year and a half after Sirius Minerals, the parent company of York Potash, revealed its plans for a mine, and 12 months after a review by the firm of possible sites based on technical constraints, operational, ecological, environmental, social and community factors.
Bosses at York Potash say the site has been chosen not only because it sits right at the centre of one of the thickest seams of high grade potash ever uncovered in the world, but also because the topography of the site means the mine will be completely hidden and disguised.
The site also benefits from what York Potash has described as an “isolated” location with only seven properties located within a 1 kilometre radius.
Chris Fraser, managing director of York Potash, says the project as “nationally significant” with “extensive local benefits”.
He said: “From the outset of the York Potash Project we have said we can develop a world-leading, state-of-the-art potash mine in an unobtrusive way.
“Our proposed location and design concepts show what would be a relatively simple concept to construct, but with one of the world’s most innovative approaches to low impact mine design.
“This is a nationally significant project that brings with it extensive local benefits to North Yorkshire.
“The location and our mine designs demonstrate that we can minimise the impact of the mine and deliver on our long-standing commitment to the local community.
“We look forward to feedback on these plans through the public consultation process over the coming weeks.”
A sunken mine head design has been chosen, with agricultural style buildings used to cover the head.
The mine is set to create 1,000 direct jobs, and up to 5,000 indirect employment opportunities, with around 700 people working at the mine once it is in full production.
York Potash has said it is working with North Yorkshire County Council to utilise a Park and Ride system for workers to access the site, and that all traffic leaving the mine will be directed south on the B1416, along a road with no neighbouring properties, to join the A170.
Following today’s announcement York Potash is launching a six week public consultation process into the proposals for the mine.
Exhibitions will begin on Thursday, September 13 at Sneaton, before ending on Friday, September 28 at Scarborough’s Town Hall in St Nicholas Street.
Other locations include Whitby, Sleights, Hawsker, Fylingdales and Cloughton. In addition the company is publishing the information in its newsletters and on its website.
Following the public consultation York Potash hopes to submit a full planning application for the mine to the North York Moors National Park Authority by the end of the year.
It is expected a decision will be made within four months, with construction set to start straight away if permission is granted.
Construction has been estimated at costing £1.65 billion and will take between two and three years.