AS DONCASTER and the rest of South Yorkshire remain on flood alert following a torrid week of weather, there is one glimmer of hope on the horizon – and that is the decision to back the latest expansion of the area’s airport.
Sited on one of the biggest regeneration sites in the north of England, Doncaster Sheffield Airport was lauded this year as being the UK’s best airport for passenger experience – a status further helped by its easy accessibility by road.
But it is also well-placed to take advantage of South Yorkshire’s burgeoning reputation for advanced manufacturing and logistics, hence the decision of Doncaster Council to approve a new 3.5 million square feet development that has the potential to create a hub of excellence and 4,300 jobs.
A welcome vote of confidence in Doncaster, the economic spin-offs are likely to benefit not just South Yorkshire, a county that has paid a heavy price for industrial neglect, but the wider region.
But the full potential of both the airport – and surrounding area – will only be realised if the Government matches the ambitions of local leaders and backs plans to build a rail link from Doncaster to this prime and prestige site.
And at a time when the Government’s commitment to South Yorkshire – and the wider Northern Powerhouse agenda – has been called into question by Boris Johnson’s complacent response to the flooding emergency, a promise to advance this scheme at the earliest opportunity might begin to assuage some of those residents, and businesses, who still feel very badly let down by Ministers.