Ollerton residents push for pit memorial

PLANS by Ollerton councillors to submit a planning application to build a new miners’ memorial on the site of the town’s former colliery have been welcomed by residents.

Ollerton Colliery closed in 1994 and the land is now owned by supermarket giants Tesco, but talks between the council and store bosses over the location of a proposed new memorial have stalled recently.

At a meeting of Ollerton and Boughton Town Council, members voted to submit a planning application to have a memorial built on what was knows as Pit End Lane.

The move has also been welcomed by Ollerton residents, including Maureen Pickering whose husband and father-in-law both worked down the mine for many years.

“Without the colliery, there would be no Ollerton, the public wants a visible memorial that people can see and is not hidden away,” she said.

“People feel let down by the situation. It is a lost bit of history and a lost community if something is not built to remember all those people who worked there.”

Maureen says that it is important for the next generation of young people to know the history of their home town.

“We need something to show young people who may not have heard of Ollerton Pit and visual references are always more potent,” she added.

“Tesco takes a lot from this community but gives nothing back, that piece of land does not mean anything to them but it means a lot to local people.”

Boughton resident Elizabeth Tilstone gathered more than 375 signatures and raised nearly £600 in a bid to get the memorial built.

“Every other pit village has a tribute to their miners but Ollerton has nothing, we spoke to some kids who didn’t realise we had a pit but some remembered their grandfathers working there,” she said.

During the council’s monthly meeting, members said that submitting a planning application would force some movement from Tesco on the issue.

Tesco’s regional corporate affairs manager Jonathan Simpson said that the store is in talks about the memorial and is happy to discuss the plan with residents. He added: “If this is land that does not cause any problems in terms of access we will be very happy for a memorial to go there.”