Doncaster Chamber urges Peel Group to consider offers to buy airport

Doncaster’s Chamber of Commerce has released a statement following the revelation that multiple parties are hoping to buy Doncaster Sheffield Airport.
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The Doncaster Chamber has urged Peel Group to return to the negotiating table to stop the airport from closing.

The airport is due to wind down operations from October 31, despite a statement from mayor Ros Jones earlier today that there are multiple parties wanting to buy it from Peel Group.

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The mayor also announced that the offer from the council and South Yorkshire mayor to subsidise profits for the airport for 13 months to allow time for negotiations to take place has been extended to two years.

Dan FellDan Fell
Dan Fell

Andy Morley, president of Doncaster Chamber, said: “It is heartening to see all the work that has been done behind the scenes now paying off and I congratulate the council, the South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority (SYMCA), as well as local politicians, for all coming together to find suitable investors. Clearly the market recognises DSA’s untapped potential.

“Having several buyers lined up is an encouraging sign that our commercial sector – including those with experience in the aviation sector – truly believes we can make this work. Throughout this whole negotiating period, there has been a tremendous outpouring of support from businesses, residents and partners who all want to see DSA succeed.

“With this in mind, we are asking Peel Group to act in good faith and to come back to the negotiating table.”

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Dan Fell, chief executive of Doncaster Chamber, added: “The investors that have come forward clearly believe that DSA can be a viable and thriving airport.

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“I am therefore urging Peel to set aside a reasonable amount of time to properly explore these options in good faith. The public sector has revised its original lifeline offer, extending the period within which the financial support can be used from 13 months to 24. We urge Peel to accept this offer and come back to the negotiating table. Despite the eleventh hour of these developments, it is incumbent on all parties to try and find a solution that can potentially work for the region, its business community, Peel and the potential new owners alike.

“Finally, it is incumbent upon national government to get involved at this point. Weeks ago, the Prime Minister publicly vowed to use her influence to protect DSA, but we have yet to see any tangible action on this front. Partners in South Yorkshire have already done their part by offering financial support and brining prospective buyers to the table, and I thank them for this. Nonetheless, Government intervention is still required.

“As such, I am reiterating the point made in our recent open letter and asking the government to demonstrate its commitment to levelling up the North of England by helping us save this vital asset.”

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In the event that Peel Group refuses to consider any offers, local politicians have considered using a Compulsory Purchase Order to take the airport into the hands of officials.

Doncaster’s Labour MPs, Ed Miliband and Dame Rosie Winterton, have also called for the Government to use the Civil Contingencies Act 2004 to keep the airport open due to vital operations that take place there, such as air emergency services.

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Dominic Brown, editor.