Hatfield Colliery: Council to continue paying private firm thousands to keep Doncaster coal mine secure from ‘thieves and adrenaline junkies’
Doncaster Council is to continue paying £150,000 to a private firm to secure a defunct and derelict coal mine.
Hatfield Colliery, which closed in 2014, is said to be a target for ‘opportunist thieves, adrenaline junkies and bikers’.
The council outlined costs of around £2,300 a week for security paid to Alfreton firm JMC Engineering and a further £29,000 for ‘ongoing repairs and maintenance costs’ – despite not owning the site.
Any costs incurred beyond the £150,000 will have to be met from the emergency planning budget which doesn’t have any money allocated and will be noted as an ‘overspend’. The total bill has increased by £5,000 from the previous year.
A report seen by councillors shows the site poses a ‘number of major risks’ including issues such as ‘lagoons, spoil tips and associated subsidence’.
The council had planned to demolish the winding gear – but a successful campaign to get the structure listed kept it in place.
Campaign groups in the Hatfield and Stainforth are keen to develop the area while keeping the iconic head stocks.
The Hatfield Main Heritage Trust, a group consisting of former miners and residents, want to turn the site into a heritage centre and a country park consisting of a conference centre and sports hall with a museum and antiques centre with small workshops for artisans and crafting.
The site is currently owned by Netherlands bank ING but its use is currently in legal limbo.
Interim assistant director of environment, Tracey Harwood, said: “As of November 2, 2018, the site report reflected that theft/intruder activity has been increasing over this month.
“Security personnel are still escorting thieves off site. Quads and motocross bikes are running both around site and on the tips.
“As reported, the main concern is surrounding incidents associated with human factors - accidental or deliberate interventions by trespassers, opportunist thieves, adrenaline junkies or closure tourists.
“The risk to human health will increase should the structures be left. As the likelihood of an incident will increase.
“From a public health perspective, the site should be made as safe as possible before the barriers or security is removed to protect human health.
“Whilst the council don’t have legal responsibility for health and safety at the site, as a responsible council it cannot simply close its eyes and allow a risky site to be open to the public, thus there is a need to continue with the current security arrangements.”