Although the fourth worst place to live in the UK, Doncaster is aiming for a year of culture in 2020

Doncaster. One of the oldest town’s in England and home to Conisbrough Castle, Brodsworth Hall, the Minster Church of St George, a famous racecourse and the other one from One Direction. Also, according to a national survey, it is the fourth worst place to live in the UK.

Doncaster’s debut entry into the list compiled by website ILiveHere.co.uk could not have come at a worse time for the town.

In November, the council appointed Juliet Farrar to lead plans for a year of culture in 2020. Previously head of Culture and Tourism in Middlesborough, Farrar leads a team featuring members of Hull’s 2017 City of Culture consultancy group.

In addition to this, the council has recently unveiled regeneration and investment plans, including a transformation of the historic Wool Market set to open this month.

Glimpse into Doncaster’ history with this time tour video

However, the council’s ambitious project to turn the town into a cultural hub does not seem to have convinced citizens.

The placing on the ‘Cr*p Towns’ list is determined by residents, which suggests few people are proud to declare their Donny’ roots.

The comments for the town’s nomination didn’t hold back. Some respondsents said: “You’ve probably been forced to pass here on the train at some time in your life, seeing all the attractions such as the smack rate infested Balby Flats and dirty Hexthorpe.”

“A night out in Donny is magical, with bums sitting on steps drinking on white lightning near the old Purple Door strip club or the Jobcentre and chavvettes with near nothing on, looking to volunteer to contribute to Doncaster’s rising pregnancy rate.”

Despite the negativity, the council remain determined to build the town’s reputation as a promising investment opportunity.

Assistant Director of Development Scott Cardwell is attending the MIPIM, an international property event hosted in Cannes, to promote the opportunities as part of the Sheffield City Region delegation.

He said: “Doncaster is on a major upward curve with a hive of activity taking place in the town centre and right across our borough.

“We are delivering countless key projects which are transforming the town, improving perceptions of Doncaster and most importantly supporting new investment, economic growth and job creation.”

The Local Growth Fund for the Sheffield City Region is backing several investment schemes including the Waystone Unity Project.

The grand masterplan will look to transform land off the Junction 5 of the M18 into a new sustainable community. It will include up to 3,100 new homes and deliver over 9,000 jobs.

A historic picture of a Doncaster train

While many people may have only passed through Doncaster to catch a connecting train, the town does have some notable attractions. This includes fastest growing airport outside of London, ranked No.1 for customer satisfaction.

There are also plans for a new train station which could enhance growth and opportunities by linking the airport to the East Coast train line.

The comments linked to the “Cr*p Town” poll do not name authors or say where they originated from.

Furthermore, it is perhaps reasonable to question the credibility of ILiveHere’s annual list.

Firstly, no town or city further south than Peterborough, which topped the chart, made a list which people believe is an attack upon the North.

Doncaster may not be an obvious visitor destination, but neither was Hull or Liverpool a few years ago.

Funding received through the UK and European City of Culture awards allowed both cities to pour money into a range of projects and reap the financial rewards from increased tourism.

To put Doncaster’s appearance on the list into perspective, Hull also made the chart and was just once place below the town, despite the success of 2017.

This year could be a crucial one for Doncaster in terms of attracting business and investment. The results of a poll only 50,000 people took part in is unlikely to damage the council’s efforts to make 2020 project a success.