It is naïve to think that attaining city status is the only thing needed in order for Doncaster to thrive (The Yorkshire Post, July 1). The only difference this status would make is that Doncaster could then be at the bottom of City Attainment leagues rather than the Town League tables.
The levels of obesity, especially in schoolchildren, school positions in the education league tables and the very low levels of postgraduates working and living in Doncaster, are just a few of the problems.
Doncaster and Mexborough markets are an example of bad decisions and short-sighted management. Doncaster Council gave a contract to MAM to manage the market for 25 years. Part of this contract was for them to pay DMBC £122,000 annually and to make £6m of improvements to the markets. These commitments have not been fulfilled, despite traders having paid full rent throughout lockdown. The company returned to the council for financial support and were given an extra £910,000 of taxpayers’ money.
Part of Doncaster indoor market was closed off in September 2018, with management announcing that the area was to be renovated. The businesses already there were offered a place in the Wool Market, at higher rents and opening six days a week. These traders gave up businesses, that they had previously bought, without receiving any compensation. The area was boarded off and has had no work done to it, and, to this day remains closed.
Mexborough Market resembles a derelict warehouse. It is dirty and has no welcoming features which has resulted in a reduced footfall, making it difficult for traders to make a living.
Planners in Doncaster spent money refurbishing the Wool Market with features that were copied from properties in Leeds and other large cities. Doncaster does not have the type, or number, of customers that these large cities have. The building alone cannot make it a success.
Doncaster was historically a market town with people visiting the town specifically to come to the market. It had a variety of traders making it an interesting place to visit. The town now seems to be overrun with eateries. The taxpayers of Doncaster are not getting value for money, the town needs better strategic and financial management if it is ever to thrive again.
There are more pressing issues in Doncaster than striving for city status.
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