Double boost for plans to preserve colliery winding gear
Proposals to preserve Hatfield Colliery's winding gear with a village heritage centre have received a double boost.
Hatfield Main Colliery closed in 2015, after nearly 100 years of coal mining at the site. But more than three years after production ended, the iconic winding gear still stands at the pit head.
Former miners in Stainforth have set up the Hatfield Main Heritage Trust, and are bidding to take over part of the site with a heritage centre and a country park potentially consisting of a conference centre and sports hall with a museum and antiques centre with small workshops for artisans and crafting at a reasonable price.
Now a survey has shown public support for the plans. And the firm which has recently taken over the debt associated with the former site has said it is ‘supportive’ of plans.
A survey carried out on behalf of of Stainforth Town Council revealed 95.4 per cent of people who responded would like to see a country park created on part of the former pit’s slag heap.
A total of 93 per cent backed the idea of having a heritage and crafts centre on the former pit head site, and 91.4 per cent backed preserving the old colliery headgear as a monument to Stainforth’s mining heritage.
Over 700 people responded.
Doncaster Council had initially planned to demolish the winding gear – but a successful campaign to get the structure listed kept it in place. The council is currently footing the bill for its security.
Keith Allsopp, chairman of Hatfield Main Heritage Trust, said the debt attached to the former pit had been taken over from ING Bank which at one stage was responsible for it, by Hargreaves Services, a company which at one stage ran the pit on behalf of the mine’s then-owner. But the use of the site is currently in legal limbo.
He has met with officials from the firm.
“They know roughly what we want to do with it,” he said.
“It is the only pit headgear left in Doncaster. We believe it can be an asset.”
The trust is looking to put together a feasibilty study and a business plan, and is fundraising to create one. Last year the singer Paul Heaton donated the royalties to the Housemartins track Coal Train to Hatfield Main to the trust. Plans have been drawn up for how the site could look.
Hargrearves Services has issued a statement on the site.
It started: “Hargreaves Services has a long history of involvement with the Hatfield colliery site. We are supportive of the Council’s and the community’s ambitions for the site and are working closely with the Council.We have no further comment at this time.”
Log onto https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/hatfield-main-heritage-trust to donate the trust’s crowdfunding page.