Popular tourist attraction Yorkshire Wildlife Park (YWP) has raised an additional £38 million-pound by way of debt and equity from BGF and a major high street bank.
The development capital will be deployed to double the park’s size and help the park to fulfil its objective of attracting 1.5 million visitors a year. The Doncaster-based park currently has more than 450 animals.
The Shoosmiths legal team was led by corporate partner James Foster, based in Leeds, assisted by Natalie Hager (corporate), Simon Procter (corporate), Tim McNamara (banking), Parin Galaiya (banking), Kate Featherstone (tax) and Andrew Graham (employment).
Barry Jackson, investor director at BGF, said: “YWP has earned an international reputation for conservation, animal welfare and high-quality visitor experiences since it was set up and we are pleased to support the team’s ambitious and clear strategy for growth.”
James Foster said: “It’s a pleasure and a great Shoosmiths’ team effort to support YWP on this exciting debt and equity raise. John and the team have huge ambitions to turn the park into a major year-round attraction in Yorkshire and it is pleasing to see BGF investing in that growth right now. From spending time with Steve, John and the team you can feel the passion and drive they have for growing the group and creating a modern, successful wildlife park that is inspiring best practice across the industry.”
The deal will also see Steve Brown, a founding director of Center Parcs UK and non-executive chair of BGF-backed holiday park developer Coppergreen (also a client of Shoosmiths) joining the YWP board as non-executive chair.
The park was set up in 2008 by founder directors Steve Minion, John Minion, Cheryl Williams and Neville Williams.
Phased plans include a new and free to enter boutique leisure destination, a new themed restaurant with an adjacent giant children’s playbarn, two other restaurants, a wildlife-themed hotel, a lifestyle retail offering and a flexible venue for conferences and events.