Doncaster Voices: How can Doncaster be put on the map?

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Welcome to Doncaster Voices, your weekly debate forum. If you want to get involved, submit 150 words with name, title and photo to chris.page@jpress.co.uk. Then your views could appear here next week, when subject is ... “How can we best fill Doncaster’s empty shops?”

Coun Bill Mordue, DMBC cabinet memver for business, skills and economic development

Doncaster has a lot to be proud of and shout about. We have world class assets cities across the country would aspire to have – our East Coast Mainline railway station, superb motorway links, UK’s fastest growing airport outside of London and internationally renowned Yorkshire Wildlife Park and racecourse. We have amazing community-minded residents who help us make Doncaster a cleaner, happier place. We already have a lot that puts us on the map, along with rich rail heritage, something we mustn’t forget and, indeed, built on when we were successful in bringing soon to open National College for High Speed Rail, which will train next generation of engineers. Only by celebrating our heritage and embracing our future can we go forward with firmly putting Doncaster on the map.

Bill Morrison, Chair of Trustees at East Doncaster Development Trust

Doncaster over the years has not really promoted itself, not just as a place for industry but tourism. We have allowed development to overtake common sense. We must stop covering up, or knocking down, our finest architectural assets. The Frenchgate is a classic example. Did we have to scupper those fine shop fronts in favour of a concrete and glass monstrosity? Look to York and Chester to see how the past can live alongside modern. Go back to the ’70s and Impel Week when Donny was alive, showing itself to the world. We involved Doncaster people. It’s time for council and business to wake up and recognise the world doesn’t end at the motorway. Do Impel all over again, be bold and brash, and don’t worry about upsetting Sheffield! Tourist Information at our airport wouldn’t be a bad place to start.

Melanie Hewitt, Doncaster resident

Doncaster has been on the map since Roman times. We are wonderfully placed to be at the centre and part of so many transport and logistical hubs, thanks to the foresight and planning of our forefathers as well as our geography. I think the key though is about perception. As every marketer knows, perception is reality. Doncaster is greater than the sum of its parts. To have a lasting impact in terms of visibility and position, the whole town needs to feel empowered and involved in its future. Talking up, rather than down, sharing good news, rather than bad, and celebrating the wonderful things we already have. Engagement and positivity is infectious. People put places on the map. Amazing things are being created and achieved in our town every day. We need to find out the best way to share this beyond our borough.

Dan Fell, Chief Executive of Doncaster Chamber

Doncaster has a great story to tell but not enough people know about it on a regional, national and international level. That’s why the Chamber, Doncaster MBC and private sector have collaborated to create new Doncaster Ambassador doncasterambassadors.co.ukprogramme, celebrating and promoting Doncaster as a great place to live, work and play. It will bring more inward investment, increase tourism, and make Doncaster more attractive to skilled workers, particularly important as engineering, manufacturing, education and health report acute skills shortages. The Ambassadors programme – vocally backed by the Free Press – is all about Doncaster firms showing their commitment to the place and, collectively, creating resource required to better promote Doncaster and put our great town on the map.