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March 2003
Discovering the Doncaster spirit?
Doncaster - discover the spirit
The new Doncaster logo - what do you think?

As Doncaster rebrands itself, we ask - what do you make of the market town?

Is Donny going downhill, or is it thriving? And what about all that business over city status?

Is Doncaster a city?
Doncaster Council
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Lesley Garrett, Brian Blessed, Jeremy Clarkson and Dame Diana Rigg are all from Doncaster!

Parts of the film "Brassed Off" were shot in Doncaster.

The sitcom, "Open All Hours," was filmed in Balby!

The St Leger, which takes place in Donny each September, is one of the biggest events in the racing calendar.

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Doncaster is attempting to put its troubles behind it and project a more positive image.

sculptures at Doncaster Museum
What do you think is the spirit of Doncaster?

The town will carry a new slogan - "discover the spirit" - after local people and businesses said the borough needed to send out a more enterprising message.

The idea is that this will help market Doncaster to new employers, developers and visitors.

Councillor Ian Spowart has said that he is certain it will make a real difference.

He told the BBC, "The branding is a project for all of Doncaster, not just for the council.

"It's for the benefit of businesses and the people who live and work here.

The Frenchgate Centre
Is Doncaster in need of this boost?

"Hopefully, it will attract people into Doncaster to spend their money!"

An attempt 12 years ago to rebrand Doncaster as built on 'black diamonds' failed when the pit closure programme destroyed most of the local coal industry.

Doncaster has twice applied for city status, but has been rejected each time. And the town is now notorious for the Donnygate corruption scandal.

arrow Should Doncaster be granted city status? Join the debate!

We'd like to know what you think of the South Yorkshire market town.

Council building
What makes Doncaster different? Share your views!

Is Doncaster on the up? Is it a thriving, enterprising place? Or should the council be concentrating on other things?

And what is the spirit of Doncaster? Is it the people, the place - or something else?

Send us your views, and we'll publish them on our site!

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Sean - Sheffield
Following on from my earlier comments, I decided to visit Doncaster yesterday for the first time in years.

Sadly, despite minor cosmetic improvements to street furniture and the creation of a major traffic jam on the inner ring road near North Bridge, nothing much has changed. Indeed, many shops had shut and an air of depression hung over the place.

One thing did catch my eye.

A newspaper fly poster summed up in a nutshell what a thousand words on here couldn't say.

It was imbued with the best Doncastrian down to earth values.

Above all, it was a clarion call to all outsiders that Doncaster IS a forward thinking kind of town...if your thinking is still anchored somewhere in the 1970s.

This is what the Doncaster Free Press poster said...


Oh my, Donny you've such a long way to go.

Tim - Doncaster
Reply to Sean - Sheffield Thank God you dont live in Doncaster there is enough stuck up people with out anymore. Doncaster is a fantastic town with its own identity thank you. Unlike places like Rotherham which is indeed just a suburb of Sheffield. I agree that Sheffield has a diverse population, but at what cost. Nineteen murders in 12 months, resourses sucked in from the rest of the county. Especially your stupid tram (that was our money well spent!). No Doncaster is a fine place that has tollerant citizens and not a homophobic as you might think. Fair play to the people of the town to try and improve and better the town.Id rather live in Doncaster than anywhere else.
i have lived here in doncaster for the full 30 years of my life, and i can tell you now that it does not diserve city status. It doesnt matter how much effort goes into sprucing the place up, it will always look the same!!!! schools are closing, the retail trade is being taken over by the numerous new bars, resteraunts and themed pubs. Public transportation leaves nothing to the imagination! we already have to cities close at hand, LEEDS and SHEFFIELD, and as for an airport well ..who-ever though up that idea needs locking up!!!!
paul - Auckley doncaster
I have lived in doncaster all my life,the town did have a bad reputation but come on the town is on the up.the new council are trying there best and in mayor martin winter we have a man with will all the knockers of our GREAT TOWN please stop moaning and do us all a favour
richard - doncaster
has being born and rised in doncaster but worked mainly in the south,i have to say i agree with the people with a negitve view of the town it make me laugh when the local council puts us forward for city satus. the town is to small and is not going anywhere fast the lake? at the lakeside is just a big hole no watersports no nothing realy waste of money in my eyes as being a avid sailor. the only jobs i see coming in to the town are call centers and some new warehouses where has all the big players gone i.e. ici international harvesters etc. people do not want to work as i can see they like the life on the dole if you have pride you would take a jod at mc dees for 4.30 if you have pride not not a $$$ser. i used to like to go for a pint round town on a weekend but no more sad to say to many young girls/women showing them selfs up and to many young bucks trying to see how hard they are(not very)in most cases. so get a new council with young blood with new thinking a new outlook and get the town back on its feet not a new logo that makes f all diffarance to the towns problems. so come on stop the rot.
Chris - Doncaster
I have lived in Doncaster most of my life but I have also travelled the country and lived in various other towns and cities.

Despite what many others seem to think I do not believe that Doncaster has any more or less problems than many other towns in the country. Though I do accept we do have some problems such as drugs, alcoholism and crime.

One of Doncaster’s main problems is that during the 80's Doncaster's industry was devastated by the then Tory gornerment, who closed most of our coal industry. This represents Millions of pounds worth of cash which is no longer being earned and spent in our town.

This is now changing, Doncaster IS getting investment money (The Lakeside, Doncaster Interchange etc..), jobs ARE being created for our towns’ people (BT, Green Flag etc..), Corruption in the council has never been scrutinised so heavily.

Doncaster is not a bad place to live, we have many friendly and honest people, we have some good places to shop and nice areas to live. We have a reputation for one of the best pub nightlives in the area and some of the best markets in the country.

Give Doncaster a chance

Sara - Vienna, Austria (but permanent address is Doncaster)
What most people have said here is true - Doncaster needs a university to drag it out of the squallid state it has fallen into. Police presence needs to be higher, particularly on the streets in the town centre and on thursday friday and saturday nights, when the majority of the town appears to think it amusing to start fights, swear, spit and generally make fools of themselves. The town seems to be stuck in the mindset of "if youre an individual then theres something wrong with you" - hence the penchant for all things either lycra (for women) or ben sherman (for men). It needs a serious overhaul to be taken seriously by most people, including the inhabitants themselves and this is clearly never going to happen whilst the current council are in power. I usually feel ashamed to say I come from Doncaster, and I can see from the messages here that I'm not alone.
Ray Hind - Sheffield
I like Doncaster.It has the best music shops for instruments,and the cheapest at that.far better than Sheffield has.Good on yer Donnie.Keep it up.
Kevin - Doncaster
To Mat:

I agree that it is not only Doncaster that suffers this isolation from the real world, perhaps, the pubs and clubs should be forced to play Radio 4 programmes in lieu of any other 'sounds'. Maybe then, for some at least, a whole new perspective on life may be influenced.... It might even get some to start using un-tapped regions of their cranium.

For Sue:

We share similar concerns about '5-Streets, Hyde Park and what seems to be long-winded promises about improving the area. I attended a meeting some weeks ago to add my bit to the so-called re-development survey (hmm, wonder what that cost)! Anyway, I was asked if I would be prepared to have a further interview at home, to which I agreed. What have I heard since, about such a visit - you guessed it - nothing!

Mat - Rivelin Valley, Sheffield
Kevin has a very good point about the cultural climate of Doncaster, and the same comment can be made about may other smaller towns in Yorkshire as well. I spent the past weekend in Barnsley and was amazed at the lack of anything more than blokes in shirts and women in next to nothing on the streets. It's not as if these places are lacking in pleasant venues and pubs, it just seems that the people who dominate them have a tolerance for nothing more than lager, football and low-brow conversation. Comming from Sheffield to these places I agree that a university would force them to look beyond the mundane and embrace a more cosmapolitan attitude to life in general. The influx of students from different part of this country and abroad has forced cities like Sheffield and Leeds to broaden their horizons and as a result have undergone a rennaisance in the past few years. The Sheffield of today is a far more pleasant and forward thinking place. Towns like Doncaster and Barnsley need to drag themselves out of the dark ages before they're left behind for good and end up as a tourist attration.
Sue - Doncaster
How come Doncaster Council have all this money to spend when the people of the 5 Streets area of Hyde Park are in desperate need of redevelopment. This area of Doncaster is nothing but an eyesore for visitors entering our Town to visit the Racecourse etc.

A total waste of money.

The reason we are not a City, lays at the Council Door!

Kevin Duckham - Doncaster
I am on a soap-box role now!

I have just opened my new council tax bill - Band A - £683.13 for 2003/2004.

How lovely that there are lots of high percentage increases for our services. One that really strikes me is the extra 27.3% for SY Police Authority!

Now, I am not disputing that extra policing is vital in the area, but would love to know how much of this increase finds itself sponsoring street policing and how much just keeps the police pension and sick pay funds available.

I must say that in the last few weeks I have noticed a higher police presence in the area I live, Hyde Park, and welcome that. I hate to be cynical but...... was that I wonder, a deliberate attempt to soften us ready for this massive increase in policing costs?

Kevin - Doncaster
I have recently returned to Doncaster (my roots) after 25 yrs working in mainland Europe, and the South of England, including 10 yrs in London.

It (Doncaster), seems to have changed little in that tme. It is caught in an alcohol based social trap, which is ever more being capitalized on by the never ending adition of more places to 'swill' the depression away. Girls and women of all ages seem to compete in how little clothing they can wear no matter what the weather thrusts at them.

Doncaster market, once a focal point of trade in the town, now seems to offer little except mobile phone covers for sale. Although I accept the vegetable, meat and fish markets are still some of the best around. The Frenchgate centre seems to be the most popular commercial shopping area, which I believe is a detrement to the town and agree with a previous commenter that 'unless a guy wears a macho Ben Sherman loosely swaying on the outside of his trousers he is unlikely to be 'socially acceptable' in the click of things.' However, there are a couple of pubs that are noticeably different, The Tut 'n' Shive and The Leopard, and attract a more abstract crowd.

What this town really needs is a Uni which will encourage some diverse thinkers to influence some badly needed cosmopolitan change here if it is develop in anyway.

Cities, by definition from my experience, always have diversity and a cosmopolitan feel, Doncaster has a long way to go before joining that bracket and as such should spend its time on changing that face and then maybe it will evolve into the face of a city.

Howard Murray - Canberra Australia
Our daughter and son-in-law live near Doncaster and we visit teh area from time to time. Certainly, the town centre and surrounding road network need some brightening up and some improvemetns to traffic flow but eh strength of doncaster is in its peiple. We have met wonderful people and the future of the town should be built on encouraging the people to have confidence in their community and to continue to be open and welcoming.
JD Keen - Bessacarr
How apt that the word Spirit should be mentioned - as the Council have allowed so many pubs and bars in the centre of Donny it's not that difficult to find the spirit. Just a little harder to find shops as more close in the Frenchgate and surrounding area.
Doncaster seems to be an eyesore around the 'gateways' to the town. The rail and bus stations are next to some pretty grim buildings, particularly South Bus Station. Some serious cash needs to be spent to improve the town centre. Saying that though, money is being spent. Look at Lakeside. I think it's getting better generally, and there's some really nice surrounding areas like Bawtry and Tickhill.
Sean - Sheffield
This is a pointless marketing exercise that will do nothing to reposition Doncaster. Ultimately this is an irrelevent, pointless little town with a backwards attitude and little of any value.

It has no university and any student with the misfortune to roll up in this backwater would risk being beaten up for being a potential homosexual or a subersive for not conforming to the standard 'ladswear' issue Ben Sherman in one of any number of tasteful pastel shades.

No arthouse cinema, gay friendly clubs, student population and a cultural identity all work against Doncaster.

It does have low employment, high crime and a major drug problem though. Perhaps they could market this?


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