one of the first conversations I had in Doncaster with someone from the town’s political circles was about trams.
I was reminded of this on a business trip to Sheffield this week, where I was able to grab some lunch before returning to the Free Press offices.
As I took in the sunshine and city centre scenery I was also reminded of a recent correspondent to the letters page who put up Sheffield and Leeds as examples of ‘proper’ cities and that those who thought Doncaster had a chance of city status must be ‘on crack’.
It was a funny line and it made me smile again as I pondered on the differences between a great city like Sheffield and our proud town. And I think in some ways it boils down to one thing - vision.
The chat about trams that I began this piece with was surprising. I had asked why Doncaster didn’t have a tram system but Sheffield did - naive I know but I had arrived from Edinburgh that week.
“We helped pay for it, but we don’t get anything like that here,” came the reply.
I remember being non-plussed. I had worked in Scotland’s capital city for a decade and was well used to the city’s powerful self-promotion. I couldn’t really grasp why a politician in Doncaster thought their town didn’t deserve a tram system - or anything else for that matter.
It’s all about having the vision and self confidence as a town to build an identity that rings true with those of us who live here and makes sense to those elsewhere who might want to live here, or build a factory or just visit for the day. There’s nothing that Leeds and Sheffield have that we don’t deserve - and who knows, could we be the next capital of Yorkshire?