Mining relic to be finally torn down?

Clipstone Headstocks
Clipstone Headstocks

CALLS are growing for the area’s most iconic mining structure to be finally torn down to make way for major employment - including a supermarket.

An application to demolish the towering headstocks at Clipstone, which are the tallest remaining mining relics in Europe, is expected to be submitted to planners.

The move has received the backing of Clipstone Parish Council, which says it is ‘time to move on’.

Campaigns to preserve the 200ft-high towers as a permanent reminder of the region’s heritage were launched in recent years but have since faded.

Local councillors say they have become nothing more than a magnet for vandalism and are preventing much-needed commercial development on the site.

Former miner Dave Thompson, who sits on Clipstone Parish and Newark & Sherwood District Council, is backing the bulldozers to move in.

He said: “The village has got to move on, they are dragging the village down. I worked down the pit, and a lot of people around here did, but there’s nothing more we can do.

“They are dropping to bits and it’s only going to get worse. It’s time to move on.

“Nobody has given a monkey’s about them in 10 years, so for the future of our community, they need to go.

“They are a landmark, but the village is not going to move on with them there.

“There were groups who wanted to keep them they seem to have all gone now, they have realised nothing can be done.”

Janine Cooper, who works at The Pit Stop shop across the road from the derelict site, says customers often talk about the headstocks, and most want to see them down, although she admitted there are mixed feelings.

She said: “To keep them would cost an awful lot of money, we were told it costs around £1m a year, and that must be paid by the taxpayers.

“You see kids climbing on them and it’s dangerous.

“There is all that space there and it’s an eyesore, it’s just going to waste.

“It’s our history but we’ve got to see change.

“My dad worked there for 50 years and he would want to see them down.”

Coun Thompson says a memorial to the miners is needed on site, but the land should be transformed into an employment hub- but not further residential development.

“I do not want to see houses there, that’s the last thing we want,” he added.

“I want employment, whether it be a supermarket, or something for leisure or tourism.

“We’ve had houses built and now we need the services to keep up with rate of building.

“We need something for the kids of the village. There are hundreds leaving Garibaldi School each year and there’s nothing for them.”

The future of the headtsocks has raged on for years, with a number of attempts to bring them down.

Site owners, Welbeck Estate, recently submitted a report to Newark & Sherwood District Council to assess the environmental impact of demolishing the colliery buildings, with a planning application expected to follow.

But while calls for demolition grows, potential problems could be the building’s listed status.

Nottinghamshire county councillor, John Peck, said: “The listing is the big stumbling block, but in my view they should not have been listed in the first place.

“There’s an inevitability about the situation, nobody will put the money in renovate them.

“People around here want jobs, and a supermarket has been mentioned a number of times.”