Clayton West open cast mining plan back with Kirklees planners

Controversial proposal returns exactly 12 months after being rejected

Former Kirklees Councillor, John Cook at the former Springwood Colliery site, off Litherop Lane Clayton West, where proposals for open cast mining have been submitted

A plan to mine hundreds of thousands of tonnes of coal and clay at Clayton West is back just 12 months after it was rejected by Kirklees councillors.

Gordon Harrison Ltd has lodged a plan with Kirklees Council to extract 190,000 tonnes of coal and 40,000 tonnes of fireclay from land near Litherop Lane.

The applicant wants to mine land between the village and Bretton Hall Park, adjacent to the former Springwood Colliery, for what is thought to be £13m worth of materials.

The company says the plan, close to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, will create 12 full-time jobs and claims there will be little disruption to local people.

It says on completion of mining the land will be restored to its former state.

The new plan is similar to one turned down by Kirklees Council’s Heavy Woollen planning sub-committee in April 2013 because of its impact on the countryside.

But a year on, the Wakefield based firm has returned with a number of revisions to its failed plan, first submitted in 2011.

They are: a reduction in the number of lorries leaving the site from 30 to 23 a day, removal of Saturday working at the request of English Heritage, reinstatement of a triangular central copse of woodland to include a more diverse species of stock, extension of the aftercare period from five years to 10 years, and a commitment to improve drystone walls along Litherop Lane when the site is restored.

The company has also vowed to give £40,000 each to both the Denby Dale Community Project, the charity behind plans to build a new library in Denby Dale, and the Parkgate Sports and Community Trust who are creating the Dearne Valley Sports Village at Skelmanthorpe.

At the 2013 meeting councillors heard from objectors and supporters but decided the plan to dig for coal would be detrimental to the greenbelt.

Kirklees planners also said it would damage the “visual amenity” of the Bretton Hall estate parkland and would affect walkers on the network of public rights of ways across the land.

Speaking at the time, Clr Paul Kane, chairman of the sub-committee, said: “The area is a jewel in the crown and while Bretton Hall and Yorkshire Sculpture Park may be in Wakefield we don’t want to approve anything that may be detrimental to attracting people here.”

Wakefield Council strongly pushed for the proposal, which would have provided a dozen full time jobs on site, to be refused.

Its regeneration manager, John Ladley, said it would impact on plans to create a luxury hotel at the Bretton estate and a new business park.

Skelmanthorpe Community Action Group (SCAG) also opposed the two-year mining proposal.

 
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