Doncaster received a tremendous shot in the arm today with confirmation of millions of pounds in funding for a major road scheme to regenerate the town.
The Finningley and Rossington Regeneration Route Scheme has got the green light and there are high hopes among council leaders that the widening of White Rose Way could also get the go-ahead with European funding later this week.
The dual carriageway schemes, both linked to the M18, could help to create thousands of jobs for the borough and up to £1.7 billion in investment, it is predicted.
Doncaster Council was told officially last night that the long-awaited FARRRS scheme can go ahead thanks to the local authority being awarded a share of £450 million being invested across England.
The £18 million grant from the new Regional Growth Fund is the largest to any local authority in the country.
Mayor Peter Davies said it was the best news the town had received since he has been in office for nearly two years.
“This is absolutely tremendous news for Doncaster,” he said.
“It has the capacity to transform this town. It is always a little dangerous to predict but I am very hopeful we will be informed on Thursday that we can get both projects off the ground.
“This is the best news we have had for a long time and will transform Doncaster from being depicted as a disadvantaged town into one able to take advantage of all its natural assets and transport links to be a gateway to this country.”
The council’s regeneration experts reckon both schemes could, in the long term, create one million square metres of business space, 21,000 jobs, 5,000 new homes and the incredible investment value of £1.7 billion.
Doncaster business chiefs were also cock-a-hoop.
Daniel Fell of the Chamber of Commerce said: “This is remarkably good news for Doncaster. At a time when economic growth is showing signs of faltering this will provide a welcome tonic for local businesses.
“Robin Hood Airport is a key strategic asset for the region - the green light for the Sheffield City Region Gateway project will open the airport up for future route and freight opportunities which will, in turn, support international trade, inward investment, and the development of key sectors around the City Region such as advanced manufacturing.
“The Chamber has lobbied for this transformative infrastructure project for a number of years and, as part of this bid, we played our part in the partnership by securing 550 pledges of support from local businesses detailing just how this critical road scheme and improved links to the airport will benefit them and help their business to grow.
“When this roll call of businesses - including many internationally renowned companies - was presented to MPs in Westminster it evidently made a significant impression. We hope it went some way to influencing this positive decision and would like to thank every business that gave its support for this key scheme.”
Don Valley MP Caroline Flint said: “The green light for our airport link road has been a long time coming. We have always been confident of the case for FARRRS, which is why it has such strong support from the Sheffield City Region.
“This will both create jobs and boost our airport. The link road will open access to new jobs and be a huge boost for Rossington’s Inland Port. It is one piece of good news among the economic gloom.”