Mining memorial hopes for Ollerton

OLLERTON could soon be unveiling a mining memorial after years of consultations, meetings and wrangling over potential sites.

The Colliery Memorial Working Party, made up of representatives from across the community, are eagerly awaiting bosses from Tesco to rubber stamp the scheme.

After initially blocking plans to place the memorial in the group’s preferred prominent position on land opposite the supermarket’s petrol station, it is hoped that following the latest meeting, executives will give the final proposals the go-ahead.

“We have been fighting to secure a mining memorial for the town since Ollerton Colliery closed in 1994,” said Ollerton and Boughton Town Council’s Stan Crawford.

“But we have faced various obstacles along the way. The main one being where to put it.”

“We really wanted it to be in a place where it would be the most visible and have the most impact, which is why we have pushed for the Tesco site off the main roundabout.”

“It is something we want as a permanent reminder for those who lost their lives working at Ollerton pit and as recognition for an industry now lost.”

“It has taken us years to get to this stage because of various problems encountered along the way but hopefully we can now look forward to a summer unveiling.”

Tesco bosses are hopeful a solution can soon be found but the sticking point remains to be plans surrounding the store extension.

“We are very hopeful that we can accommodate the wishes of the Memorial Committee with their preferred site,” said Tesco spokesman Jonathan Simpson. “However it still depends on plans for our store expansion as it may mean changes to the road link around the entrance and exit, which would affect the proposed memorial site.”

He added: “We very much want to work with the group and they have a cast iron commitment from us to place the memorial somewhere within the curtilage of the store as it is where the former colliery once stood.”

“We hope to have a final decision within the coming weeks.”

The memorial will take the form of many others sited across the county and use one of the original headstocks from the town’s colliery.

Funding for the monument is already in place through local fundraising projects. And Kirton based Butterley Bricks have offered to donate the materials for the base.

Coun Crawford added: “We have applied for planning permission and don’t anticipate any problems.”

“We are just playing a waiting game before we get the final green light and can start work on the much awaited project.”