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09 Dec 2020

GatewayEast: Unlocking the Freeport potential to accelerate growth in the Sheffield City Region

Our Executive Director for Strategic Investment & Growth, Stephen Wild puts pen to paper to explore how we’re supporting the South Yorkshire Freeport plans to help level up the UK post-Brexit and bring significant investment to the Sheffield City Region.

Bids to find Freeport destinations across England closed on 5 February 2021 and we’ve worked with the Sheffield City Region (SCR) to put forward a bid for a South Yorkshire Freeport incorporating GatewayEast to help level up the UK and boost growth in the SCR.

Freeports would become new hubs of business and enterprise designed to attract major domestic and international investment. Benefits would include tax reliefs, simplified customs procedures and planning processes to promote regeneration and innovation.

Peel L&P’s GatewayEast development, anchored by Doncaster Sheffield Airport (DSA) and strengthened by the nearby iPort rail freight terminal, East Coast Mainline and The University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC), provides the SCR with the largest opportunity for sustainable social impact and economic growth and one that would be accelerated considerably by gaining Freeport status.

The £1.7bn shovel-ready project provides 11 million square feet of residential and commercial space across five distinct zones and will be worth £6.5bn to the local economy by 2037, creating up to 35,000 jobs and 3,000 new homes.

The world-class exportable translational research and innovation provided by the AMRC and the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District within 20 minutes of GatewayEast build on the region’s long industrial heritage giving it a competitive advantage for the Northern Powerhouse which the Government says should be supported and encouraged.

DSA is also the fastest growing airport in the UK with the capacity and space to cater for significantly increased passenger and freight demand without negatively impacting local people. In the year before the coronavirus pandemic, 1.4 million passengers travelled through DSA, but there’s capacity for 25 million passengers and 250,000 tonnes of freight per annum.

GatewayEast is the first development of its kind in the UK and we’re excited by the scale and diversity of the opportunity it brings to the SCR.

We’re collaborating with partners including the SCR Combined Authority and LEP Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council, Verdion and DSA to submit a Freeport bid with input from local Chambers of Commerce and businesses.

Freeport bids will now be considered by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government with Ministerial decisions expected in the Spring. More here.

We’ll provide updates on our progress as the competition unfolds. In the meantime, you can read more about GatewayEast at