6,000 jobs

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PLANS are being drawn up to build an Enterprise Zone on the outskirts of Doncaster - which it is claimed could create more than 6,000 jobs.

Bassetlaw Council hopes to create the facility at the pit village of Harworth, predicting it could bring in 6,500 new jobs and hundreds of millions of pounds worth of investment.

The proposal, which will be considered by the Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership Board, concerns a 110 hectare site in Harworth to be called A1M.

It would be a boost for a village which currently has had its colliery, once a major employer, mothballed since 2006.

UK Coal says it still hopes to re-open the pit if investment can be found to do so.

Bassetlaw Council says the site is ideal as an Enterprise Zone because it is clear, contamination free, and ready for development and close the A1(M) and M18 motorways.

It also has existing rail links close by.

Documents supporting the application say that, at this stage, any predictions on jobs can only be an educated estimate, and ultimately, the market will decide the speed of development and the creation of jobs.

But it states research run by the council predicts between 2,120 and 2,832 new jobs will be created in the short term, 600 to 4,637 jobs in the medium term, and 3,413 to 6,518 additional jobs in the long term.

It says Harworth based UK Coal and North Notts College have already show interest in investing in the site, and that it is expected the mix for development at the site would be healthcare, engineering, environmental technologies, digital manufacturing, food technology and logistics.

Bassetlaw Council is at an advanced stage in talks with North Notts College to relocate a Food Technology training Centre from Worksop to Harworth.

There is also the potential of a velodrome, since the site is near the former home of cycling legend Tommy Simpson.

The proposal is being moved ahead with support from landowners, Harworth and Bircotes Town Council, and Bassetlaw MP John Mann.

Coun Graham Oxby, incoming leader of Bassetlaw District Council, said: “Our bid meets all the criteria laid out by the LEP Board. It’s a fantastic location in terms of size and transport links and, with no contamination issues or flood risk, it won’t cost a penny in remedial works. “This will bring thousands of new jobs and hundreds of millions in investment.

“It’s good for Harworth, good for Bassetlaw, and great for the Sheffield City Region.”

He believes the site, next to the A1(M), meets all the criteria laid out by the Government for Enterprise Zone Status and offers potential for complementary growth in Doncaster and Rotherham.

He also believes Enterprise Zone status in Harworth would attract new businesses to the Sheffield City Region meaning there would be no displacement of existing jobs across the area.

Coun June Evans, chairwoman of Harworth and Bircotes Town Council, added: “The A1(M) site has the backing of the community and access to a potential workforce in Harworth and Bircotes, Doncaster and beyond.

“We want to see new industries and new jobs in the city region and, with the granting of planning permission for 1,000 new houses in Harworth, there will be the infrastructure to support a workforce.”

Bassetlaw MP John Mann said: “I will be lobbying hard my fellow MPs across the city region in support of this bid. It is vital we make the most of this opportunity to link air, road and rail and bring advanced technologies and skilled jobs to the region.

“This bid meets all the criteria and is important because too many employment sites have been lost. Where areas have significant unemployment you have got to provide the land for development.”