New hope for future of Doncaster Sheffield Airport
Talks between Doncaster Council and DSA owners Peel Group have re-ignited hope that the airport could be back up and running within two years.
On Wednesday at an extraordinary meeting of the City of Doncaster Council Cabinet it was revealed that “real headway” had been made in the negotiations with the airport’s current owners, Peel Group.
The council says it is on the cusp of agreeing on a 100-year lease for the site. Meanwhile, it is also searching for a private sector partner who can operate the airport, in the event that it does get back up and running, which could feasibly be within the next two years.
Dan Fell, Chief Exec of Doncaster Chamber, said: “The fight to save DSA has been fought valiantly by various partners and it’s heartening to see that things might at long last be looking up. The fact that Peel Group is open to agreeing to lease their site is a huge step forward in these negotiations and is reason enough alone for optimism. For all the political noise associated with this campaign, it is commercial pragmatism that will lead to solutions and it is looking as though there is a real win-win to be had for all parties."It’s no secret that this ordeal has taken its toll on the region. When a review into the airport’s viability was first announced back in June 2022, it caused a great deal of consternation as everybody tried to wrestle with the implications of losing such an important strategic asset. At the time, while its fate still hung in the balance, DSA’s worth to the local economy was estimated to be around £110 million per annum. Yet if it were supported in reopening then, within the first three decades of operating, the net economic benefits could potentially be up to £1.5 billion.
"Surrendering the airport altogether therefore felt like an unthinkable prospect and I am glad to see that we are now moving towards a more desirable outcome. One that is mutually beneficial for both Peel Group and for the region at large.
"On that note, I would like to commend Peel for doing the right thing here and for still returning to the negotiating table month after month, even in the face of some, quite frankly, difficult conversations. South Yorkshire has enjoyed a decades long relationship with this company and — while it has evidently not always been the plainest sailing — in the main it has been a fruitful one. Based on today’s announcement, I hope that we will continue to have strong ties with this major industry player, particularly when it comes to fulfilling the enormous opportunities afforded to the region by the GatewayEast site.
"Finally, I would also like to applaud our partners in the local authority, public sector and political arena. While there have been many different voices involved in this conversation throughout — and they certainly have all played their part, including many hard working people away from the public eye — it is only through the tenacity and sheer willpower of certain individuals going above & beyond that we have been able to make it this far.
"All in all, the news from today’s council meeting is very promising and could signal a much-needed change in Doncaster’s fortunes. The past 12 months have been incredibly challenging but, if this is any indication, I truly believe that we can turn things around and look forward to a brighter, more prosperous future.”
In the year since the airport’s future was first called into question work has continued behind-the-scenes to find a solution, with campaigns from the public, businesses and MPs.
Doncaster Chamber has urged its strategic partners to work with Peel and the business community in order to find solutions that will protect and enhance the airport, which it is believed has the potential to generate around £1.56bn in net economic benefits over the course of three decades, and well as thousands of jobs.