Regional and Business Airports Group member, Doncaster Sheffield Airport in Yorkshire, has unveiled an ambitious masterplan to become a major international transport hub with its own East Coast Mainline railway station and the capacity to provide air travel to more than 25 million people. Bosses at the Airport have published a masterplan document in which they lay out plans to create an “aerotropolis” for the North of England that would generate 73,000 new jobs and hand a £3.2bn economic boost to the region over the next two decades.
In addition to boosting passenger capacity, the airport wants to increase the volume of cargo it handles to 250,000 tonnes a year and host the construction of 8,500 new homes within its site. Central to the expansion plan is to directly link the airport to London and Leeds with a newly-created railway station along the East Coast Mainline, a move it says will place close to nine million people, from the suburbs of the London northwards, within 90 minutes of the airport.
Airport chiefs say the new station could be operational by as soon as 2025 and would alleviate congestion around the capital by reducing the need to travel to Heathrow or Gatwick.
Seeking to take advantage of the airport’s 1,600-acre size, the masterplan lays out a vision for an aerotropolis development – tapping into the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre, Doncaster’s logistics hub, a global air cargo campus, residential zones and a central plaza of retail outlets, restaurants and hotels. The increase in cargo freight in particular is something the masterplan says could be of huge benefit to the country, saying it “can facilitate major freight expansion supporting international trade at a crucial time in the country’s development post-Brexit”. The required upgrades would come with a £280m price tag, to be funded by a mixture of private and public money procured from both regional and national government.
Robert Hough, the chairman of airport owner Peel Holdings, said: “If we are seriously talking about re-balancing the economy and the Northern Powerhouse, this sort of scheme should have full support. It is understandable, it is deliverable, it is not that expensive.”
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