December is traditionally the time when we reflect on the achievement, investment, events, successes and challenges over the year whilst also looking to what is in store for 2023.
There is no doubt that the past couple of years have been incredibly challenging, however we are fortunate here in Doncaster to look back on a year packed full of celebration in spite of those challenges.
As we take some time out now to be with family and friends and recharge our batteries as we prepare for a New Year with new opportunities, new challenges and new investment, let’s take a look at just a few of the highlights from 2022:
- Investment - completion of Gateway 4: Trebor Developments and Hillwood acquired this 25-acre site developing a 411,470 sq. ft. industrial/distribution building. Geodis, a leading global logistics provider, occupied the unit shortly after completion, creating hundreds of new jobs for Doncaster. Further business investment saw rail services provider Dual Inventive expand and locate to an 18,000 sq. ft. unit at Kestrel Court near Doncaster Sheffield Airport. So many businesses made investment in to Dooncaster including M&T Haylage, Oakwood Park Homes, EuroPool System and Lontra to name just a few
- Event - the 2022 events calendar kicked off in February with the return of the Doncaster Business Showcase at Doncaster Racecourse, proving to be bigger and better than ever before with exhibitors and visitors all welcoming the opportunity to once again network and do business face to face, after the covid restrictions.
- Success - then came the fabulous announcement that Doncaster achieved first place in fDi Intelligence’s the Small European Cities of the Future 2022/23 – FDI Strategy category. The hard work and effort of Business Doncaster and Doncaster Council being recognised in this way, shows that Doncaster is a fantastic place for businesses to invest and grow. Our economic growth in recent years has been exceptional, especially given the need to adapt and respond to the Covid-19 pandemic to support our businesses whist still assisting businesses looking to invest.
- Competition - Doncaster then jumped ‘on board’ the Great British Rail HQ campaign and after months of campaigning and lobbying, we were successful in being one of the six places to be shortlisted, followed by a visit in August from the Rail Minister. Lobbying for Doncaster to be home of the GBR HQ will continue into 2023.
- Further Investment - Gazeley Developments completed the major logistics hub G-Park, and again demand for this space was high, with Maersk, the Danish shipping and logistics company signing a 15-year lease…another considerable and noticeable investment into Doncaster. Commitment to long-term innovation and business growth was demonstrated when innovative compressor manufacturer Lontra also chose Doncaster to be the home of their brand-new £17m smart factory creating over 300 jobs for the region.
- Celebration - In May, Doncaster received the news that we had all been hoping for – after three previous failed attempts, Doncaster finally achieved City status as part of the Queen Jubilee Celebrations and in November, King Charles visited to formally confer Doncaster as a city.
- Campaign – airport owners Peel announced the closure of Doncaster Sheffield Airport blaming high fixed costs and reduction in future aviation income streams. Doncaster Council has and will continue to pursue all legal routes to retain aviation operations at Doncaster Sheffield Airport. It can and should be a successful airport and key economic driver for Doncaster, South Yorkshire and the North. The fight to save our airport is ongoing, and will continue long into 2023. A special mention goes out to Business Doncaster’s Advance team who, alongside partners from DWP and National Careers, have supported over 200 airport staff made redundant to access new employment opportunities.
- Support - Business Doncaster has continued to deliver exceptional levels of business support working with colleagues and partners to help make a difference supporting businesses in their recovery and getting back on their feet. Dedicated business support was provided to assist applications for a number of grants including the Additional Restrictions Grant, Economic Recovery Grant, Decarbonisation Grant, Enterprise Chest and Space2Create.
- World Class Sport – England hosted the Rugby League World Cup 2021 in October and Doncaster was delighted to host three group stage matches at the Eco-Power Stadium, bringing top class international rugby league to the City. What's more, Doncaster played host to the Cup finalists Samoa during the tournament.
- Regeneration - City Centre regeneration continues with an aim to increase activity, footfall and improve the image and vitality of the City Centre. Significant high quality investment in public realm, along with the redevelopment of a number of sites for commercial and residential use will create a visible positive difference.
Looking ahead to 2023, challenges remain with energy price increases and the cost of living overall and there is no sign of this easing in the short term. However, Doncaster has been through tough times in the past and we have a resilience that carries through to today. We know that we will get through it, and there are brighter times ahead.
We will of course continue to work with and support our key development sites such as Unity Yorkshire, iPort and Doncaster North, all of which will attract further inward investment as well as supporting the growth of Doncaster’s economy.
The Doncaster Business Showcase 2023 is already looking to be another successful event with over 300 exhibition stands already sold. The event takes place on Thursday 2 February at Doncaster Racecourse.
We would like to wish everyone a very happy and healthy Christmas and a peaceful and positive New Year.
From the Business Doncaster team