Potential Doncaster jobs boost sparks row over green fields

The development would be near the FARRRS link road, in Auckley
The development would be near the FARRRS link road, in Auckley

Doncaster could be set for a jobs boost if the council agrees controversial plans to allow a German farm machinery manufacturer to move on to a site near Robin Hood Airport.

But German firm Amazone is facing opposition from residents who are worried the move could pave the way for the development of greenfield land near former RAF houses at Auckley.

Amazone wants to use the agricultural siten near the planned FARRRS airport link road, because it needs land on which to demonstrate its machinery.

If the plans are agreed, the company will move its UK headquarters to Doncaster from Nottinghamshire and jobs would be created.

Amazone UK managing director Adrian Winnette said he could not be certain of the number jobs in the pipeline but the firm had grown ‘significantly’ over the last five years.

A Doncaster Council report, which goes before councillors due to make a decision on the plans today, said: “The proposed development will bring a leading international manufacturer of agricultural machinery to the borough.

“It will bring jobs to the borough and provide the UK headquarters for this company. The principle of development is considered acceptable in this location, and in keeping with the agricultural use of the site.”

The site will house Amazone’s machinery for display and would also be used for training courses for dealers and farmers from across the UK.

Council officials and company bosses say that is the main reason for choosing the site.

Surrounding farmland is also included within the development area.

But Auckley Parish Council has raised concerns about the scheme, along with councillor Patricia Schofield.

Ms Schofield said she feared the scheme could open the floodgates for development on the fields to the west of Hurst Lane, near the airport.

She said: “I really do think that side of Hurst Lane could be developed if this goes ahead, and that is a concern of mine. I have raised the point with Auckley Parish Council.

“I am concerned this may open the floodgates and the possibility of Hurst Lane being developed into some sort of industrial estate.”

But Mr Winnette said his firm would retain the fields because they needed them to show customers how their equipment works.

“Field conditions are the best way to demonstrate the products,” he said.

Council planning officials say the site’s rural character is already changing and the second phase of the FARRRS link road will cut through part of the site.

A report says the plans do not represent ‘an isolated building in a countryside location’, and would complement the surrounding area and future development.

Council officials say the FARRRS airport link-road road and adjacent developments will add an ‘urbanising character’ to the surrounding area, but the ‘open rural character’ to the west of Hurst Lane will remain.

Councillors on Auckley Parish Council say the new proposed access to the development from Hurst Lane is not appropriate, because it is close to the airport link road and traffic lights.

They claim it will generate additional traffic, including large farm vehicles and the site poses a potential pollution risk to the public water supply.