South Yorkshire Chambers Welcome News That Doncaster Council Is Intensifying The Fight to Save Doncaster Sheffield Airport
The three South Yorkshire Chambers of Commerce welcome the recent news from City of Doncaster Council, that they are intensifying the fight for Doncaster Sheffield Airport (DSA) and that they are now identifying the necessary resources to support this.
For context, the council published a report last week detailing their ambitions to re-open DSA. As part of a wider project — named South Yorkshire Airport City (SYAC) — this document reiterates how valuable DSA is for our regional economy, projects how much it could grow if it were to reopen, and clarifies that negotiations between Peel Group and the local authority are ongoing.
On that last note, the report emphasises that City of Doncaster Council is still looking to reach an agreement with the airport’s owners and that the preferred outcome here is to secure the relevant land through a negotiated sale. Yet a contingency is built into the plan in case those efforts should fail.
Indeed, the council has stated that it is willing to pursue a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) as an absolute last resort, should there be no alternative path left open to them. This course of action would naturally incur legal costs, which is why the report asks the Council Cabinet to ring-fence £3.1 million as a contingency.
In support of this move, the CEOs for Doncaster Chamber, Sheffield Chamber and Barnsley & Rotherham Chamber (Dan Fell, Louisa Harrison-Walker and Andrew Denniff respectively) have issued the following statement:
“South Yorkshire’s business communities have made it clear that they see a thriving international airport as being key to the region’s future economic success. For two decades, local businesses have been sold a vision for Doncaster Sheffield Airport that they believed in and supported.
“Despite recent setbacks, the South Yorkshire Chambers do not see a substantive reason why DSA could not be reopened. We welcome the fact that the City of Doncaster Council is continuing negotiations with Peel and allocating the resources necessary to reach an outcome that is in the best interests of the regional economy.
“Instinctive support for Compulsory Purchases Orders is not typically in the DNA of the private sector or the business organisations that represent them. We would, naturally, prefer a negotiated outcome that sees the airport re-open without recourse to the courts.
“However, such is the strength of feeling with the business community, that we think it would be appropriate for a CPO to be pursued in the interests of South Yorkshire’s economy, if all other routes have been exhausted. Indeed, recent polling showed that this approach is supported by 69% of our members and opposed by only 10%.
“We want South Yorkshire to be viewed as a great place to do business and we believe that, with cool heads, there is still a way through the current situation that produces a win-win-win for the region. Following a CPO – or, indeed, in lieu of one – new owners could acquire the airport and provide the international connectivity that our region needs. Meanwhile, Peel could recoup a significant amount of their sunken investment via a sale and see land values on the adjacent Gateway East site skyrocket as the site becomes even more compelling for investors.
“Finally, South Yorkshire Leaders and, indeed national Government – if they choose to help in a meaningful way – could cite this as levelling up in action.
“With all that said, we urge all parties to find a way through to re-open and grow the region’s airport.”
The aforementioned report will be presented to the City of Doncaster Council Cabinet on Wednesday the 12th April, at which point they will be asked to ring-fence the £3.1 million.