Sheila Soar’s recent correspondence to you regarding the Clipstone Headstocks captures the real issue - how does the retention of these derelict and dangerous structures serve the interests of the local community?
While some may say that the scale of these structures is impressive from afar, within Clipstone their presence has none other than the conveyance of dereliction and decay. I imagine that although there may be small specialist groups with an interest in the positioning of the winding headgear, such interest is not represented by the wider local community.
The Coal Authority has sought listed building consent for demolition - which would occur promptly if consent is achieved - over many years. Substantial financial analysis has been undertaken to demonstrate that ‘enabling development’ to provide the multi- million pound investment to repair and maintain these structures is not realistic - and for what purpose - a monument? But English Heritage has not as yet accepted this analysis and intends to undertake a further study lasting many months before another view is taken.
Already 12 months has elapsed since this study was first discussed between English Heritage and Newark and Sherwood District Council- and as yet the study has not been commissioned. The planning system requires pragmatic decision making and in times of financial austerity, society has to be even more realistic as to the use of monetary resources.
While the enthusiasts at English Heritage may wish to retain these structures they have not been forthcoming in the availability of funding. An enquiry has been made to NSDC, whose action led to the listing of these structures, whether the Council wishes to take on the long term responsibility for repair and maintenance - hitherto without response.
The removal of these structures would enable the site to be redeveloped for mixed use including new homes, opportunities for new commercial uses and the provision of a memorial park to the miners at Clipstone Colliery. It has to be recognised that we cannot necessarily preserve all the past. Regenerating this site to meet the needs and aspirations of the local community should be given much greater weight in this long drawn out planning process.
P. J. Frampton,
Planning Consultant to
Welbeck Estate/ The Coal
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