Leaders still hopeful over £50 million Doncaster and Stainforth towns fund redevelopment bids after 45 schemes approved

Community leaders in Doncaster and Stainforth remain hopeful they could follow the 45 towns named this week to share a £1 billion towns fund.

A list published of areas that will receive cash under the scheme did not include either – but that is because they are both included in a later wave of applications.

For Doncaster town centre, three transformational proposals have been submitted to the Government, which aims to provide a transformation of the ‘gateway’ into town and boost long-term economic investment and growth.

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Artists impression of the Stainforth headstock park

They include a railway forecourt extension, a multi-use building and public realm involving new office space, and a heritage pot commissioning feasibility studies of identified heritage sites to define a new future for them.

Proposals for Stainforth involve improving access to the village by rail, a new town centre hub building, a CCTV camera network, and the restoration of the winding gear at the former Hatfield Colliery as the centrepiece of a new ‘headstock park’ with visitor centre and country park.

Between them, the schemes are bidding for around £50 million.

It is understood that the Doncaster and Stainforth bids are still working through the Government assessment process.

Phill Bedford, a Stainforth town councillor and chairman of its neighbourhood plan group, said he remained hopeful that the bid would be accepted.

He said: “The 45 announced this week were from what’s being called cohort one. They started the process earlier, and did their business plans earlier.

“There are three cohorts – we are in cohort three.

"We are hoping that we are going to get something.”

He added that funding that has been promised under a scheme called an accelerated deal, which will pay for a miners memorial park in Stainforth near the former entrance to the colliery, is already assured.

It is understood there may be some indication of how the process is going in late March or early April.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer criticised the first 45 towns announced because 40 of them were in areas with a Conservative MP.

But Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the criteria was entirely objective, looking at data, poverty, and employment.

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. Nancy Fielder, editor.