Major redevelopment plan for former Doncaster tractor factory site

The former McCormick Tractors factory on Wheatley Hall Road,
The former McCormick Tractors factory on Wheatley Hall Road,

One of Doncaster’s biggest former factory sites is finally set to be redeveloped – as a large housing estate.

Harworth Estates, best known for redeveloping former colliery sites, is taking over the former McCormick Tractors site on Wheatley Hall Road and will convert most of the land into housing.

The announcement comes almost eight years to the day since the factory assembled its final tractor.

The firm says it will change previous plans for the site, which had been for a mixture of housing and business.

It will see the redevelopment of a 112 acre site which was once one of Doncaster’s most important manufacturing centres.

A company spokesman said today it was too early to say how many jobs the scheme would create, as the firm’s detailed plans had not yet been drawn up.

He said the scheme would be put to Doncaster Council at a future date and it would be ‘housing led.’

Planning applications were likely to be put forward late in 2016 or early in 2017.

The site, near Doncaster town centre, comprises 77 acres of land which was occupied by McCormick Tractors until 2009. The remaining land provides 193,670 sq ft of industrial and storage space.

Harworth bought the site out of receivership for £8.5 million. It previously had planning permission for 800 new homes, 200,000 sq ft of industrial space and a variety of other uses, including a care home, retail and a retirement village.

Harworth says it intends to ‘refresh’ the masterplan for the site and to ‘promote a major mixed-use development’, but the firm’s spokesman said the majority of the scheme would be housing.

The scheme today was given cross party support from Doncaster’s politicians.

Mayor Ros Jones was pleased that it looked like the site would finally be redeveloped.

She said: “I am delighted Harworth Estates have acquired this major regeneration site on Wheatley Hall Road, which has been vacant since 2009.

The plan for a mixed-use site, including new housing and industrial units, will help to meet the needs of the community, and is an appropriate development to assist in regenerating the borough.

“It is good to see yet another private sector firm keen to develop in Doncaster, and this represents another positive indication that our local economy is continuing to improve.”

Conservative leader on Doncaster Council Coun Nick Allen was pleased with the move.

He said: “We all know there is a shortage of good quality housing in Doncaster so this development could really benefit the town. I understand that Harworth Estates plan to use this land for a mixed use development so I think this is good news for the town’s economy.”

It is one of number of schemes in which the firm is currently involved. It was formerly the property wing of UK Coal but is now an independent company.

The company is currently delivering the first phase of 1,200 new homes at its Torne Park development at the former Rossington Colliery. It also received planning consent in August for the development of up to 375 new homes on the former Yorkshire Main site near Edlington.

In addition, two new 5MW solar farms are now in operation in Doncaster at the former Askern and Thorne collieries.

Owen Michaelson, Chief Executive of Harworth Estates, said: “This is an exciting acquisition for Harworth in an area we know extremely well. It is well connected close to Doncaster town centre and sits adjacent to the River Don, underpinning its potential as a high-quality, mixed-use development site.

“We look forward to working closely with Doncaster Council on this development, as we have done on our other sites in the borough.

“Our specialist development team will use its significant experience in developing large-scale brownfield sites to bring new homes and employment space to Doncaster, reinforcing our track record of delivering long-term regeneration across Yorkshire and the north of England.”

The tractor factory factory assembled its last tractor eight years ago this week after 60 years of farm machinery production.

The factory complex was first built by International Harvester in 1946, and started was used to build tractors from 1949.

Case acquired the plant in 1985 when it took IH’s agricultural operations, but had to sell it in 2000 to obtain European Commission clearance for a merger wth another firm.

Another firm, Argo, bought the plant and formed its final McCormick business at the beginning of 2001.

Argo’s closure plan for the plant was announced six years later, in December 2006. McCormick’s sales, marketing, service and parts remained on the site for another two years.