Stay or go? That's the question . . .

SHOULD they stay or should they go? Opinion is still divided over whether the historic headstocks at the former Clipstone Colliery site should be preserved or demolished.

The long-running saga returned to the headlines earlier this year when plans to demolish all buildings inside the pit walls, apart from the 'loved or loathed' headstocks, were submitted to Newark & Sherwood District Council.

And the latest application to demolish the buildings — which is expected to be discussed by councillors later this year — could finally get the ball rolling on the headstocks' future.

Supporters say the striking headstocks stand as a reminder of the area's mining heritage and should remain — while some village folk want them pulled down to pave the way for a new development to boost the local economy.

The issues surrounding the headstocks have left the Coal Authority unable to clear the site and hand it back to owners Welbeck Estates.

A special referendum organised by Sherwood MP Paddy Tipping in July 2003 saw four out of five Clipstone residents vote in favour of the removal of the 210ft Grade II listed structures, which are said to be the tallest pit headstocks in Europe.

This week Mr Tipping told Chad he supported any application to demolish every building and structure at the former pit site — saying he believed the cleared land would be ideal for development.

"If the site was to be demolished there would be so much that could be done with the area of land," he said.

"The space could be used to develop new industry relevant to today or there could be housing developments to help deal with accommodation problems.

"At the moment it is just a target for vandalism and concern to people who live near it."

But despite Mr Tipping's beliefs on the hot topic, not all Clipstone folk share his opinion.

Said resident Clare Smith: "We must not forget the lives that have been lost in and around Clipstone pits and the land can be developed around them."

And her comments were backed by Sharon Jarvis, who said: "They represent the hardworking miners, rich with heritage and remembering what we stand for — a mining community."