Doncaster Council considers leasing closed Doncaster Sheffield Airport at considerable expense from Peel

Doncaster Council could lease Doncaster Sheffield Airport (DSA), which closed recently, from its owners, Peel L&P, under plans being considered. The airport was wound down by Peel in November 2022, citing the financial viability of the site.  At a meeting later this month, the council is set to discuss ring-fencing more than £3m for a compulsory purchase order to buy the airport. The council said Peel had recently offered a lease of the airport.  The council hopes to reopen the site, and provide jobs.  The order to potentially buy DSA from Peel is expected to initially cost up to £3.1m in legal costs. A report looking at what can be done to reopen the airport is set to be discussed at a cabinet meeting on 12 April. The  plan is for the area around the airport to contain a cluster of businesses to compliment the site. The Mayor of Doncaster said, rather over-optimistically, that the airport “has the potential to be the jewel in the crown of the Doncaster and South Yorkshire economy.” In fact, it will generally just provide holiday flights, taking local residents to spend their money abroad. 


Doncaster Sheffield Airport: Council considers leasing closed airport from Peel

3rd April 2023

By Oli Constable BBC

The airport was opened to passengers in 2005 after it had previously been RAF Finningley

Doncaster Council could lease a recently-closed airport from its owners under plans being considered.

Doncaster Sheffield Airport (DSA) was wound down by owners Peel L&P in November 2022, citing the financial viability of the site.

At a meeting later this month, the council is set to discuss ring-fencing more than £3m for a compulsory purchase order to buy the airport.

Peel had recently offered a lease of the airport, the council said.

The council hopes to reopen the site after its closure last year affected about 800 jobs.

The order to potentially buy DSA from Peel is expected to initially cost up to £3.1m in legal costs.

A report looking at what can be done to reopen the airport is set to be discussed at a cabinet meeting on 12 April.

The area around the airport would also see a cluster of businesses grow to compliment the site, the council said.

There had been “credible financial offers to purchase” DSA, which have not been accepted by Peel, it said.

The last passenger flights left the airport in November 2022. The council added that a potential longer-term lease of the site was also being considered and discussed.

Mayor of Doncaster Ros Jones said the fight for the airport “is not over” and she still hopes an agreement will be reached with Peel.

“The acquisition process will take time and it will not be cheap,” she said.

“However, this airport has the potential to be the jewel in the crown of the Doncaster and South Yorkshire economy.

“It is an investment in the future of this great city and the region.”

It comes as the charity which looks after the former bomber Vulcan XH558 said its lease to keep the aircraft at the airport had been extended until the end of the year.

Peel L&P has been contacted by the BBC for comment.


Doncaster Sheffield Airport: Majority of South Yorkshire business community ‘support

South Yorkshire’s three Chambers of Commerce have welcomed the recent report detailing plans to reopen Doncaster Sheffield Airport.

By Shannon Mower
3rd Apr 2023

Doncaster Sheffield Airport shut down last year after owners Peel Group announced that the site was not financially viable to run.

Now, Doncaster Council has released a new report detailing its ambitions to re-open the site, either on a lease from Peel – who have already offered a deal – or after securing ownership of the land via a legally granted Compulsory Purchase Order.

Despite traditional opposition to CPO land and property seizures within the business community, members of the Chambers have overwhelmingly indicated their support for the option.

A project called South Yorkshire Airport City would involve re-opening the site and growing a cluster of businesses to complement it.

The council are aiming to reach a sale agreement with Peel Group to take over the site, however a £3.1 million budget is included for if a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) must be pursued instead.

It will be presented to the council’s cabinet on Wednesday, 12 April.

Doncaster, Sheffield and Barnsley and Rotherham Chambers of Commerce have all welcomed the report and plans to reopen the site.

CEOs Dan Fell (Doncaster), Louisa Harrison-Walker (Sheffield) and Andrew Denniff (Barnsley and Rotherham) released a joint statement:

“South Yorkshire’s business communities have made it clear that they see a thriving international airport as being key to the region’s future economic success. For two decades, local businesses have been sold a vision for Doncaster Sheffield Airport that they believed in and supported.

“Despite recent setbacks, the South Yorkshire Chambers do not see a substantive reason why DSA could not be reopened. We welcome the fact that the City of Doncaster Council is continuing negotiations with Peel and allocating the resources necessary to reach an outcome that is in the best interests of the regional economy.

“Instinctive support for Compulsory Purchases Orders is not typically in the DNA of the private sector or the business organisations that represent them. We would, naturally, prefer a negotiated outcome that sees the airport re-open without recourse to the courts.

“However, such is the strength of feeling with the business community, that we think it would be appropriate for a CPO to be pursued in the interests of South Yorkshire’s economy, if all other routes have been exhausted. Indeed, recent polling showed that this approach is supported by 69% of our members and opposed by only 10%.

“We want South Yorkshire to be viewed as a great place to do business and we believe that, with cool heads, there is still a way through the current situation that produces a win-win-win for the region. Following a CPO – or, indeed, in lieu of one – new owners could acquire the airport and provide the international connectivity that our region needs. Meanwhile, Peel could recoup a significant amount of their sunken investment via a sale and see land values on the adjacent Gateway East site skyrocket as the site becomes even more compelling for investors.

“Finally, South Yorkshire Leaders and, indeed national Government – if they choose to help in a meaningful way – could cite this as levelling up in action.



See earlier:

Doncaster Sheffield airport to close after no ‘tangible proposals’ put forward

Doncaster Sheffield airport is to close later this year, its owners have confirmed, despite the offer of financial aid from public funds. This leaves hundreds of staff facing redundancy and comes days after Liz Truss said she had instructed ministers to protect the airport.  The airport’s owners, the Peel Group, which had extended a public consultation period by 10 days, said a strategic review had ended without any clear proposals on the airport site’s financial viability, or a potential buyer. They said the high costs of running the airport, whose flight numbers have fallen by more than half since 2019, meant it would start winding down operations from 31st October.  Peel is in consultation with staff about losing their jobs. Local politicians wanted the government to provide more public money for it, but at present the UK government has massive and increasing debts, partly from capping household and business energy costs, and no cash to spare.  Peel realises subsidising a permanently loss-making airport is not a sensible use of scarce public funds.  It has made big losses since the start of the pandemic, and there are other airports in the area (Leeds, Manchester) that travellers can easily use.

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Doncaster Sheffield Airport: Mayor wants more government help on plan


The airport opened as an international commercial airport in 2005. The mayor of South Yorkshire has called on the government to change its “short-sighted hands-off” approach to helping secure the future of Doncaster Sheffield Airport.  Oliver Coppard said the government was invited to be part of a working group, but had “sadly declined”.  A consultation on the airport began recently after directors said it “may no longer be commercially viable”.  The government said it was in “close contact” with the airport.  Transport Secretary Grant Shapps had previously suggested South Yorkshire’s mayor could follow the example of Teesside Airport, which was taken over by the regional mayor in 2019.  He said public ownership for the airport should be considered.  Members of the South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority, Doncaster Council and representatives from airport owners Peel Group met on Monday.  The future of the airport was put in doubt after directors said it had “never achieved the critical mass required to become profitable”, citing issues including Covid and the impact of airline Wizz Air cancelling flights.