Doncaster Sheffield Airport: MP writes to new Transport Secretary calling for intervention

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The MP for Don Valley has called on the new Transport Secretary asking him to prevent the imminent closure of the airport following his appointment on Tuesday.

Nick Fletcher MP shared the letter which he has written to Mark Harper, who has taken over from Anne-Marie Trevelyan following Rishi Sunak’s appointment as Prime Minister and consequent cabinet reshuffle.

It reads:

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Doncaster Sheffield Airport.Doncaster Sheffield Airport.
Doncaster Sheffield Airport.

“I write to offer you my sincere congratulations on your appointment as Secretary of State for Transport and to seek your urgent help. As you know our airport is to be closed imminently by Peel Holdings despite there being an offer by the Combined Authority (SYMCA) to meet its projected losses of £7m over the next 13 months.

“I have never been able to understand why this offer, albeit one made literally at the last minute, could or should be turned down by Peel. It has led to a tragic scenario which will cause the loss of some 2,700 jobs and an immediate loss of £100m to the local economy.

“Powers have been devolved from Westminster to the elected mayor of SYMCA, Oliver Coppard. He is charged with the responsibility of transport and the regeneration of the economy in South Yorkshire. DSA has however long been recognised as more than just an airport.

“The predecessor to SYMCA namely Sheffield City Region made this clear in their minutes of 24.02.2017 which states:

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““The Board recognised the airport should not be viewed as a transport object, but rather an essential economic driver for the SCR, and nationally a genuine opportunity to redress the north- south balance by becoming the north’s 2nd intercontinental airport.”

“DSA has been the subject of a lengthy Adjournment Debate on Monday 24.10.22 and an Urgent Question the same day. Time is running out but it is still not too late for Peel to change their minds. There are three consortia in negotiations with Peel at this very moment but they need time to conclude any deal.

“I would ask that you urgently look into this and use your influence in Government with Peel Holdings and all stakeholders in this matter. We need to keep Doncaster Sheffield Airport open.”

Former Transport Secretary Trevelyan was criticised by Labour MPs and Doncaster’s mayor after stating that the airport’s future is “between Peel and the Labour Council”.

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Mayor Ros Jones claimed that she was “washing her hands” of the airport.

Labour officials and MPs have been highly critical of the government throughout the process.

Meanwhile Fletcher, who is the city’s only Conservative MP, has criticised the role of the South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority (SYMCA).

In an Adjournment Debate on the topic, he said:

“Some may wish [the Government] could do more, and so do I—but that, I am afraid, is devolution. For them to do more, we would need to return powers to Government.”

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He also wrote to the SYMCA and Doncaster Council yesterday, urging them to initiate a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) to buy the airport.

Unless Peel Group change their decision, the airport is set to close on Monday.