Motorway link hits £11m roadblock

A road linking Robin Hood Airport to the M18 motorway hit another snag last week, after officials revealed an £11.3m shortfall in funding.

The Finningley and Rossington Regeneration Route Scheme – or FARRRS for short – is one of Robin Hood’s more ambitious construction projects, designed to boost airport revenue by more than £1bn a year.

Planning disputes have kept construction crews in limbo since August 2009, and many investors are concerned about the financial viability of the scheme. Yet more planning papers will be handed to the UK Cabinet Office in the coming weeks.

Councillors are desperate to push the FARRRS project through to completion, believing it to be a cure-all panacea, a strong hand to haul Doncaster out of the recession. The road could create over 14,000 jobs in the local area.

The UK government has earmarked £1.25bn for transport schemes throughout the Yorkshire area, but there is no guarantee that the prime minister will sympathise with Robin Hood’s plight. FARRRS could remain on the drawing board until 2013.

Since its opening in 2005, Robin Hood has become a staple of local newspapers, filling column inches with sad stories and depressing tales. The airport recently announced its worst year on record, losing 30% of its passengers in just a few months.

Robin Hood needs to secure the signatures of local executives to ensure the survival of the FARRRS project.

“Dialogue with developers has taken place to secure contributions,” explained Stephen King, planner for Doncaster Council. “The certainty of contributions needs to be resolved before the business case can be submitted."

The UK Cabinet will not comment on the future of the FARRRS road until spring 2010.

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