750 homes to help fund M18 airport link road

HOUSING and business park plans which could help fund a link road to Robin Hood Airport have been given the go-ahead.

Doncaster Council planning committee voted to allow Peel Investments to go ahead with proposals for a 750 home housing estate, and to ditch restrictions on a business park which limit it to aviation-related uses.

Objections had been lodged to the housing plans from the Campaign to Protect Rural England, because of concerns it would set a precedent in allowing building in countryside policy areas.

But councillors backed a call for the proposal to be treated as a special case because of its implication for the regeneration of the area during difficult economic times.

Andy Gutherson, the borough's assistant director of development and planning, told the committee the council was having to look at alternative ways to obtain funding for the road.

It is viewed by Doncaster Council and South Yorkshire business leaders

as a key development in the county.

He said: "The Government indicated FARRRS - the Finningley and Rossington Regeneration Route Scheme - will not be seen as a priority in its current spending review.

"It is incumbent on the council to look at ways to access funding to enable it to be developed if is seen as a priority."

Under the plans, the housing development could not be fully developed until the road was completed, and the developer would pay towards the road's cost.

Coun Yvonne Woodcock said: "I'm not thinking about five years into the future - I'm thinking about 20, 30 or 40 years in the future.

"I'm thinking about the next generation and the next generation after that.

"We struggle to get people into work here, and that may still be the case if we don't go for this."

Peel Investments director Peter Nears told the committee some businesses had decided against moving to the site because of the restrictions on planning permission which limited its use to aviation related businesses.

He said other airports including Manchester, Humberside and Leeds Bradford did not have the same restrictions.

The restriction put banks off lending cash to develop the site because it made it less likely that they would be able to let units if they repossessed them, he said.

Robin Hood Airport director Mike Morton described the airport as one of South Yorkshire's greatest assets.

He said: "I've seen from business leaders that there is a real appetite to be around the airport.

"The fact that we're looking at public sector cuts means we've got to generate more business in the region."

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