South Yorkshire Business Organisations, Universities and Colleges Write to Transport Secretary, Explaining Why Doncaster is The Clear Best Choice for GBR HQ
Representatives of South Yorkshire’s businesses, and also the region’s skills community, have written to the Transport Secretary, reiterating why Doncaster should be chosen as the new home of Great British Railways (GBR).
Last year, the government opened a competition, enabling towns and cities from across the UK to put themselves forward as prospective candidates for the GBR headquarters.
From this base of operations, the public body will oversee our nation’s rail sector, with a goal of bringing the industry’s current state of fragmentation to an end. Among other things, GBR will be responsible for setting fares, coordinating timetables, contracting passenger services, and collecting revenue.
Initially, a total of 42 places bid for the HQ and each of them were asked to submit evidence of how they met the relevant criteria. From there, the shortlist was whittled down to just six finalists: Derby; Birmingham; Newcastle; Crewe; York and Doncaster.
With the winner soon to be announced, representatives from the wider South Yorkshire business and skills communities have today written to Transport Secretary Mark Harper.
Signed by the Three South Yorkshire Chambers, The University of Sheffield, DN Colleges Group, The Sheffield Property Association, Sheffield Hallam University, Barnsley College, The Sheffield College, Sheffield Digital, Doncaster UTC, RNN Group, and a Private Sector Board Member from the South Yorkshire LEP — this letter outlines how Doncaster is the clear best choice for the GBR HQ.
Going into more detail about this, Dan Fell, Chief Exec of Doncaster Chamber, said: “We are aware that a decision is now looming and so have taken this opportunity to remind the government why they selected us as a finalist in the first place, and why we should ultimately be chosen as the new home of Great British Rail.
“As explicated in our letter, Doncaster is the ideal candidate here, as the city meets each and every piece of the government’s criteria. Our bid is clearly aligned with the government’s levelling up objectives, we have an established railway heritage that dates back well over a century, and strong industry connections that endure to this day. Not to mention, we are poised to deliver real value for money as well.”
Echoing these sentiments, Martin McKervey, Chairman of the Sheffield Property Association and another of the letter’s signatories, added: “The government will find eager partners here in South Yorkshire, determined to help them fulfil their ambitious goals for GBR.
“There has been a real outpouring of public support for the campaign— with businesses and residents all enthusiastically rallying behind it — and today’s letter is just the latest in a long line of examples. The community obviously feels that GBR belongs here, as evidenced by the fact that so many prominent voices in our region have put their names to this letter.”
The letter to Transport Secretary Mark Harper can be read in its entirety below.