Historic Pleasley colliery shortlisted for heritage award

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PLEASLEY’S historic former colliery has been shortlisted for one of the country’s most prestigious heritage awards.

Members of the Pleasley Pit Trust have worked tirelessly to preserve the iconic headstocks and winding house at the site, while the old colliery spoil heaps have become a thriving nature reserve.

Now all the hard work has been honoured by English Heritage with a nomination in its Angel Awards, which were launched by Andrew Lloyd Webber.

They celebrate the work of individuals and groups who have saved a significant historic site which was at risk of being lost forever.

The Pleasley trust is one of 16 local groups which have been chosen to go forward to the finals on 31st October.

It is one of four sites shortlisted in the ‘The Best Rescue of an Industrial Building or Site’ category.

Speaking on the trust’s behalf, Bob Metcalfe said: “The changes to the buildings and site are quite unbelievable.

“Fifteen years ago the place was a mess with floor plates missing, engine parts missing, trees growing through parts of the engines, the remaining part of the roof on the verge of collapse, everything covered in rust.”

The project began with work on the land and development of the site, including landscaping and construction of a car park.

Phase two focused on the conservation of the site’s key features, including the remaining colliery engine houses and the head gears, along with other Grade II listed structures.

Work has been supported with investment from East Midlands Development Agency (emda) via the Homes and Communities Agency’s (HCA’s) National Coalfields Programme.

The restoration project cleaned up the derelict industrial landscape following the closure and demolition of the colliery in the 1980s.

It also created a landscaped gateway entrance to the Pleasley Pit Country Park.

The Land Trust provide the Pleasley Pit Trust with advice and support on the management of the historic site.

Euan Hall, chief executive at the Land Trust, said: “The trust is a community led organisation. We protect the investment made in restoring sites like Pleasley and ensure that they can provide long term benefit to the community.

“Thanks to emda’s and HCA’s funding, we will be able to provide support to the Pit Trust for the management of this valuable site for many future generations.”

David Curtis, executive director for the HCA, added: “It is great that our funding of this project has meant that a former dilapidated site can now be used by the community.

“It provides a valuable asset that not only pays respect to the mining heritage, but also adds to the long term sustainability of the site.”

English Heritage experts met recently to sift through more than 200 applications for the Angel awards, looking for passion, perseverance and imagination, as well as the scale of the challenge and how well it had been tackled.

The nomination marks a double celebration for the site after 90 hectares of the country park was designated as a Local Nature Reserve (LNR) this summer.

It allowed members to press ahead with turning it into a top attraction.