DEVELOPERS today announced £100 million plans for more warehouses on a site in South Yorkshire - pledging up to 1,700 new jobs.
The scheme, near Armthorpe, in Doncaster, was outlined shortly before Labour Leader Ed Miliband expressed his ideas for regenerating Doncaster’s economy during a visit to workers at Morrison’s supermarket on York Road.
The Doncaster North MP spoke of the need to attract development to former mining communities like Armthorpe.
Developer Gazeley announced the jobs plans after revealing they had bought the site next to Westmoor Park in Armthorpe from leisure company Blue Anchor Leisure, which already has planning permission on the land.
Mr Miliband spent most of the day at the supermarket speaking to staff - and told The Star he thought investing in people skills, and infrastructure was the way forward for regenerating the borough.
He said: “We would have kept the Building Schools for the Future programme to help improve educational attainment and provide work in the construction industry.
“And I would put greater focus on post-16 education, particularly in technical subjects such as engineering, to attract employers to Doncaster who want to invest in future industries including green energy.
“There also has to be some infrastructure work to attract employment – White Rose Way and the link road to the airport are obvious projects.
“We need to have an eye to how we regenerate our whole borough and look at schemes to attract businesses and development into the former mining communities around Doncaster.”
The warehouse jobs plans will see the development of a site which had been at the centre of a campaign to the open countryside.
The site the company has bought is around 100 acres next to the existing West Moor Park development, home to sites including Ikea, Scotts Miracle–Gro, and Next Plc.
Gazeley says when developed, the scheme is expected to create in the region of 1,700 warehousing, office and managerial jobs.
Nigel Dolan, Development Manager at Gazeley, said: “The potential for job creation is immense and we look forward to opening negotiations with occupiers.”
Local councillors in Armthorpe are pleased the deal will bring jobs but Armthorpe Parish Council had campaigned against allowing development on the site.
Parish council vice chairman John Armstrong said: “The parish council had opposed the plans to develop there because of concerns from residents that the warehouses were going to be build too close to people’s homes.
“There was a strong campaign against the plans by residents living around the Fiddlers Grove area. There were about 1,000 people against it.
“But there is nothing we can do to stop it now because it has been given planning permission.
“There were conditions put in place to regulate how the scheme progressed, such as a requirement for a bund wall to be built between the warehouses and people’s homes. We will be keeping a close eye on the site to make sure they stick to those conditions.
“But the jobs will be welcome and hopefully many of those will go to people living locally.”
Parish councillor and former Doncaster Coun Tony Brown said if the scheme was going to provide secure jobs he was pleased with the development.
But he did not believe it would create as many jobs as Gazeley was predicting.
He said: “I think it is an exaggeration. There was talk of the original Westmoor Park creating 5,000 jobs, but I understand it is less than 1,000. But if it means more jobs available for people in the area then I’m pleased.”