OPINION: Back the link road for a soaring region

The opening of the Great Yorkshire Way, FARRRS. Picture: Andrew Roe
The opening of the Great Yorkshire Way, FARRRS. Picture: Andrew Roe
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It has been a long old journey but after years of planning, deliberating and banging the drum, the link road between Sheffield and Doncaster-Sheffield Airport is finally a reality.

It means that long journeys, metaphorical or literal, will be a thing of the past for airport users, the £56million road promising to shave 20 minutes off the commute from city centre to airport.

It means the entire journey clocks in at a brisk half an hour drive.

It takes longer than that to get from Leeds centre to Leeds-Bradford Airport.

At long last, Sheffield really can boast about having its own airport again.

We’re all aware of the rather sorry tale of the failed Sheffield Airport project.

Having opened in 1997, it never really got off the ground, despite so many Sheffielders wanting the city to be able to stand shoulder to shoulder with the likes of Leeds and Manchester and have a convenient travel solution on our doorstep.

We all wanted to see the airport become a success, for obvious reasons.

As one of the largest cities in England, it’s vital Sheffield is able to compete.

And it was sad to see the airport site ripped up by diggers in 2014: truly the death of the Sheffield Airport dream.

That is, until now.

A link road to Doncaster Airport is not the Sheffield Airport some wanted to see.

But at just a 30-minute drive, we can now truly say it is our airport, too, and we should all give it as much support as we can, for the sake of both Sheffield and Doncaster and the success of Sheffield City Region as a whole.

Airport bosses predict passenger numbers will soar thanks to the new road. A 50 per cent increase is on the cards.

And a giant £400million warehouse development is planned nearby, a direct knock-on effect of the new road.

That’s not all: there are also plans for 5,000 new homes.

It’s clear that the new road is a massive boost for South Yorkshire and both Sheffield and Doncaster, something that must be celebrated. Who knows what else may end up being developed in the area as a result of the airport’s growth.

Now it’s up to the people of Sheffield to put the ghosts of our own former airport behind us, make use of the new road and help Doncaster-Sheffield Airport reach new heights.

It’s clearly a road to prosperity.