Two years ago, Doncaster was celebrating the completion of a £56 million link road.
The project known as the Finningley and Rossington Relief Road Scheme - or FARRRS - was to open up access to Doncaster Sheffield Airport, and create jobs by opening up access to places like Rossington and Finningley.
Now two years after it first opened, and now known as Great Yorkshire Way, community leaders are estimating it has created over 1,000 jobs already, and has opened the door to the development of the iPort in Rossington - which has just this week seen the first train use its facilities.
Great Yorkshire Way opened on 26 February 2016 and officials in the borough believe it has triggered an unprecedented acceleration in the development of Rossington iPort and has been a major boost for business at Doncaster Sheffield Airport.
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The three mile road has opened access directly from the motorway network at Junction 3 of the M18In just two years, over 1,100 new jobs have been created at the iPort as a result of Great Yorkshire Way. 1.6 million sq ft of floorspace is already occupied by Amazon, CEVA and Fellowes and they will be joined later this year by Lidl in a new 685,829 sq ft unit with more businesses lining up as building work continues at a rapid pace.
It also opened up the construction of iPort Rail, a state-of-the-art rail freight facility able to accommodate the UK’s longest trains up to six times a day. It is now operational and such is the demand, iPort is expected to fill its six million sq ft capacity ahead of schedule.
The connection to the M18 has also been a catalyst for business expansion at Doncaster Sheffield Airport with 55 per cent growth in passenger numbers over the last two years making it one of the fastest growing airports in the UK. Over 1.3 million passengers now use the airport taking flights to more than 45 destinations with three main carriers Flybe, TUI and Wizz Air. Great Yorkshire Way has helped create over 400 new jobs at the airport and at Aero Centre Yorkshire with over 100 businesses occupying another half a million square feet of space there..
The redevelopment of the former Rossington Colliery site is also pressing on with the first phase of a planned 1,200 new homes already completed and residents moving in.
Rossington itself is also benefiting from the improved road connection with much easier access to the town centre using Great Yorkshire Way and the recently improved White Rose Way, another major scheme delivered by the council.
The road has seen an estimated 12 million using it and has also had a positive impact on Bawtry Road, greatly reducing queues and congestion.
The second and final phase of the link road, which completes the direct link to Doncaster Sheffield Airport is under construction and will be complete and open in spring this year.
Ros Jones, Mayor of Doncaster, is pleased with the impact it has had. She said: “We always said Great Yorkshire Way was the route to jobs and growth. The pace and scale of private sector development delivered as a result of this new road in just two years is quite remarkable. We must remember none of this existed a couple of years ago.
“The impact on our economy and the wider region is simply startling. Hundreds of millions of pounds worth of private sector investment has come into Doncaster, over 1,400 new jobs have so far been created and hundreds of new homes have been built.
“People are now taking advantage of far more flight routes to business and holiday destinations, living in newly built family homes and finding more job opportunities all thanks to our vision to build this infrastructure project.
“It has been a game changer for Doncaster and it proves our commitment to continue to invest in Doncaster’s future is the right direction to take. Supporting schemes, developers and business that ultimately benefit our economy is a top priority.”
Steve Gill, chief executive of Doncaster Sheffield Airport, believed the first phase of Great Yorkshire Way linking the airport and surrounding area directly to the motorway has been a huge success, supporting a record year in 2017 for passengers, attracting a new airline to DSA in Flybe and creating over 400 new jobs at the airport site.
He added: "The second phase of Great Yorkshire Way set to open in spring 2018 will be the final piece of the jigsaw to the airport, making it even easier to get to the airport from across the region.”
iPort, located off Great Yorkshire Way, next to the M18 motorway, has also grown in the last year. Its first trains arrived this month.
John Clements, European Development Director at Verdion,the firm behing Iport, said: “Great Yorkshire Way has been instrumental in the success of iPort. The road has ensured iPort is exceptionally well-connected to the rest of UK, as well as Europe making it even more attractive to high-quality market leading companies such Amazon, Lidl, CEVA and Fellowes. So far, the Verdion and HOOPP partnership has invested over £200 million into iPort. This investment means we’ll be in an excellent position to reach our ambitious 5,000 jobs target by the time iPort is complete. And, with iPort Rail, an intermodal rail freight terminal, now fully operational on the site, the overall connectivity and quality of iPort continues to go from strength to strength.”
He said the first trains arriving at iPort this week was an enormous milestone. Demand for rail freight was increasing and having a dedicated rail terminal on site as an important asset for the site.
He added: “iPort Rail’s opening means we can offer even better connectivity to and from the Yorkshire region for national and international freight transport.
“We are also seeing a great deal of interest from businesses in the region not located at iPort wanting to take advantage of this rail connection to move and store their goods.
The road has been builk as a public-private partnership between Doncaster Council, Peel Group, Verdion and Harworth Group, with Peel, Verdion and Harworth contributing £34million to the scheme to add to £18million of Regional Growth Funding with the balance met by the council.
The road scheme has also opened to door to major housing projects.
Harron Homes and Taylor Wimpey have already built 100 homes at Torne Park, on the former Rossington Colliery site And. Harworth Group is now preparing a further land sale on the former pit site which will see a housebuilder create another 100 homes. Restoration of the former spoil heap is also well underway as part of its transformation into a country park.
Duncan Armstrong-Payne, Associate Director at Harworth Group, said: “The legacy of Great Yorkshire Way can already be seen through the superb progress of iPort, increased passenger numbers at Doncaster Sheffield Airport and strong progress being made on housebuilding and placemaking. We’re a long-term investor in Doncaster and look forward to delivering the rest of Torne Park over the next decade.”