A former slag heap is finally set to be transformed into a Doncaster beauty spot.
Proposals to restore the spoil heap at the former Rossington Colliery site have been given the go-ahead by Doncaster Council officials, meaning work can finally begin to restore the site.
Proposals were drawn up for the scheme soon after the pit closed, back in 2004, when the firm Recycoal took over the spoil heap with a plan to extract recoverable coal from the heap and then return the site to parkland.
But that scheme fell through when Recycoal folded 18 months ago, after the price of coal plunged.
Now, Harworth Group, which owns the site, has confirmed it now has permission to move forward, and has already started to work on the 150 acre site, removing some of the pile of what they call 'discard'.
Iain Thomson, the firm's associate director for partnerships and communications, said the work to create the park could not be started before the Finningley and Rossington Relief Road Scheme had been completed, providing sufficient road access to the site.
He expects the park to now take three years to be completed.
He said: "I can confirm that we have now received approval from Doncaster Council to implement a revised restoration scheme for Rossington’s spoil heap. This replaces the previous scheme that Recycoal had consent for.
"Over the next three years, we will be transforming the area into a Country Park for public use. We will be undertaking the restoration in phases, starting with the Southern end of the site that borders homes to the west of Rossington.
"Work will include the reinstatement of the Bridleway at the southern end of the site and the creation of a new memorial garden adjacent to the cemetery, as originally proposed under the Recycoal consent. We are highly experienced at restoring former industrial sites into Country Parks, and we look forward to delivering a top quality scheme for local residents to enjoy for years to come."
Bosses expect the site to be used by the public for such purposes of as running, cycling, and walking.
Their designs have also included a proposed site for a memorial garden on the ex-pit site.
The first steps in creating the park will involve removing hundreds of tonnes of 'discard' material which was extracted from the ground during the operation of the colliery, but thrown away because it was not coal.
When that is removed, the work will begin to put soil down on the site. The soil will then need to be given time to settle, and then planting of trees will begin.
Mr Thomson says there will be a clear public right of way through the to the park .
There are no plans for any cafe or leisure buildings within the park, and anyone wanting to build such facilities would have to go through the normal planning process with the council.
The redevelopment of the former colliery site will also see hundreds of houses built, with the first properties already completed.
Other work will see a commercial centre near the houses where locals shops and businesses including a supermarket are expected to be constructed.
Harworth Group has created a number of country parks in the past, including Waverley, on the former site of Orgreave Coking Plant, and Rufford.
Rossington Parish Council leader Ali Harper said she thought residents in the village would be delighted that the park was finally set to move forward.
She said: "This is something that is very important to a lot of people in Rossington. A lot of people like to walk that way into Wadworth, and there have been a lot of people saying that it is a mess round there.
"If it is going to be complete in three years, that's fantastic, and I'm sure it will be widely used. At one point there were plans for an allotment and a car park too. We may see about what can be done to create a car park at some point in the future."