My View, Ros Jones: Projects to give huge economic boost

An HS2 prototype
An HS2 prototype

I am delighted that last week my Cabinet and I were able to move ahead with two major projects that will make a huge contribution to economic growth and job creation in Doncaster. They are the new National College for High Speed Rail, which will be based at Lakeside, and the DN7 Unity Project.

The Unity Project is a long- term growth programme in the east of the borough. It will free land around Stainforth, Dunscroft and Hatfield to create employment, housing and leisure sites that complement and support the existing communities. The entire development could be delivered over a period of about 30 years and is expected to create up to 9,000 jobs and around 3,000 houses.

The full plans include a motorway link road, a marina with leisure and residential developments next to the Stainforth and Keadby canal, a mixed use community and residential area with rail station and bus interchange, along with healthcare and education facilities.

It would open up about 50 hectares of land for manufacturing and logistics businesses with the potential for rail freight, with further land available for additional commercial developments around the new gateway to Junction 5 of the M18.

To help kick start the project, which has regional support and £14.1m of funding from the Sheffield City Region Investment Fund, my cabinet approved that the land required to develop the new link road from the motorway could be purchased.

The road will link junction five of the M18 with Waggons Way in Stainforth and help development around Hatfield colliery site at Stainforth.

The delivery of the National College for High Speed Rail also took a step forward on Tuesday after we approved the allocation of funding for pre-construction preparation works to go ahead.

The rail college will be the first of seven national training colleges announced by government to open and will act as a catalyst for continued growth in Doncaster’s thriving rail sector.

Doncaster has been and always will be a rail town. Last month we hosted the first Future of Rail Conference which brought hundreds of people from the industry to Doncaster to hear from leaders in the field about what lies ahead for the future of rail.

The college will enable our world-class rail companies to flourish and be a magnet for attracting private sector investment. We are determined to create opportunities for local residents to access the college, and we are focusing on providing students with the high level skills (level 4 and 5) needed to access the thousands of high-value engineering jobs created over the next few years.

Construction of the college is due to start in spring 2016, opening for students in September 2017.

* Ros Jones, Mayor of Doncaster