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Doncaster Sheffield looking to unlock economic potential during milestone year

Pix: Shaun Flannery/shaunflanneryphotography.com

Doncaster Sheffield Airport in the UK, which turned sixteen today, has unveiled a new partnership that it hopes will help unlock the economic potential of the area surrounding area.

The collaboration, between Doncaster Sheffield Airport, Peel L&P and the University of Sheffield, is set to explore how the parties can work together to catalyse the development of a high-value innovation cluster at GatewayEast.

Peel L&P’s 11 million square foot GatewayEast development has been highlighted as an emerging innovation district by the Sheffield City Region Strategic Economic Plan.

Anchored by Doncaster Sheffield Airport, the district has international connectivity for both passengers and freight as well excellent road connections for logistics and travel throughout the UK.

The district offers a wide range of development opportunities and has the potential to be harnessed to create up to 35,000 jobs and 3,000 new homes worth £6.5 billion to the local economy by 2037, according to the district’s lead, Peel L&P.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been agreed which enables the partners to bring together their expertise and consider projects that could accelerate development of the area to benefit the region. One option could be to develop a business case for a research and development (R&D) facility in the district.

Linked to research from across the University together with the expertise of the partners, it is claimed that an R&D facility would have the potential to “become a world class asset” where research, innovation, sustainability, education and training come together to put technology into practice for the benefit of industry, the Sheffield City Region and the North.

A facility could also provide the foundation to introduce a skills academy that focuses on working with industry to deliver a deep pool of talent across the region, in collaboration with local further education providers.

Robert Hough, chair of Peel Airports, said: “The partnership highlights the intention of positive collaboration, bringing together the proven development skills of Peel L&P, with the space, ambition and aspirations of Doncaster Sheffield Airport and the academic and practical expertise of the University, to create a development plan for a high-value and excellence-led innovation cluster.

“The delivery of a Research and Development facility on the site would be an opportunity for academic, industry and public sector bodies to pool their expertise to tackle economic, social and environmental issues and for the site to act as a gateway to enable future generations of students, engineers, scientists and industrial partners to pioneer discovery”.

While Chris Harcombe, managing director of Doncaster Sheffield Airport, said: “We know that airports act as important catalysts to regional economic growth.

“The partnership between DSA, Peel L&P and the University of Sheffield to create an excellence-led innovation cluster, will be a powerful tool for high-value inward investment for the Sheffield City Region.”

Talking about the airport’s 16th birthday, Harcombe said: “We’re immensely proud of our track record and what we have achieved in a relatively short space of time. Perhaps it’s Yorkshire grit, but we keep on proving naysayer’s wrong!

“We’ve created a successful, regional airport in the North of England, the first in over 50 years, thanks in no small part to an incredibly hard-working and dedicated team of people and our loyal customers.

“There is no denying it has been a very difficult year for the aviation industry. However, we are looking forward to welcoming back passengers.

“We have robust and vigorous COVID protocols in place for the health and safety of our customers and our team. Our operators have done all they can to offer flexible terms for customers so they can book with confidence and we look forward to celebrating anniversaries and milestones for many more years to come.”


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