CONTROVERSY still remains over the future of some mining sites in Ashfield — nearly a decade on from the closure of one of Britain's oldest pits.
Up to 250 miners were made redundant when the Annesley-Bentinck Colliery closed in January 2000, sounding the death knell for mining in the district.
The colliery was formed from three separate pits being linked together underground in the early 1980s — Newstead, which closed in 1987, Bentinck and Annesley, which had opened 135 years before.
It was originally closed in the early 1990s by British Coal, but was later reopened by Coal Investments Plc and then taken over by Midland Mining Ltd in 1996 for its remaining years.
And while some of the colliery sites have been transformed into other uses, the one which has caused most public outcry is Bentinck Tip and Void – where Waste Recycling Group (WRG) wants to create a giant landfill site.
The planning application for filling the void with around 4m cubic metres of waste over 10-12 years is expected to be decided this summer after being submitted in October 2006.
Residents have fought against the plans and Ashfield district councillor Gail Turner, chairman of Selston Area Residents Association (SARA), says the site is not suitable for landfill.
She said: "All the other pits have been restored sympathetically in Nottinghamshire but not ours. Bentinck has been singled out and had the spotlight put on it.
"I think everybody realises there are instability issues on the site and those need to be addressed. There's so much wildlife in the form of flora and fauna that SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) status is under consideration for the Bentinck site."
Waste management company Terry Adams Ltd first identified the site for landfill and put in an application in 1997, which has now been withdrawn – while the tip and void were identified in Nottinghamshire's Waste Local Plan, despite objections from locals.
Said a WRG spokesman: "WRG's plans for the restoration and reclamation of Bentinck Tip and Void will help to meet an identified shortfall in landfill space in the Nottinghamshire in the next few years.
"The proposals will also restore the site to an attractive area of countryside with areas of wetland, pasture and woodland."
Last year, the Annesley Bentinck Mine Group was given planning permission to part-fill the lagoons on the tip site with excavated soil from the M1 motorway-widening scheme –– but this has not started yet.
The rest of the Bentinck Colliery site has had industrial units built on it and the former Newstead Colliery site also has businesses on it, along with a cricket and football ground.
And the future of the Annesley Colliery site has also proved controversial and it was just months ago that Persimmon Homes was given the go-ahead to knock down the iconic headstocks as part of its development of 191 houses and a health centre.
But the winding wheels from the headstocks will be converted into an art feature to ensure the historical connection with the former colliery site is not lost.
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