The transformation of South Yorkshire’s industrial heartlands has – in recent years – been emblematic of its ability to place itself at the forefront of the economic renewal of the North.
The world-leading Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre is located on the site of the former Orgreave colliery, which witnessed some of the most totemic flashpoints of the 1984-85 Miners’ Strike.
Now plans have been unveiled to build a massive distribution centre, as well as 3,100 homes, on the site of Hatfield Main Colliery which enjoyed a long and proud history before coal production ceased five years ago. Further evidence that Doncaster is well placed to attract new inward investment on the back of its £100m Amazon logistics facility, and other such developments, this scheme is a timely boost for an area that is still counting the cost of the floods that struck just over six months ago.
And, in turn, it strengthens the campaign, backed by The Yorkshire Post, for a new rail spur to be built off the East Coast Main Line to service Doncaster Sheffield Airport for both passenger and freight use.
Even though the future of aviation is an uncertain one in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic and its wider impact on overseas travel for holidays and business purposes, freight – and both the import and export of goods – remains of critical importance to the economy.
And with Doncaster’s airport already identified as a prime site for development and expansion, it is a project which will have immediate benefits for the local, regional and national economy. All it needs is the blessing of Ministers.