This article by Sarah Marshall originally appeared in The Star
David Douglass, of the Hatfield Main Colliery Committee Heritage Association pictured speaking during the rally. Picture: Marie Caley NDFP Colliery MC 2
Campaigners battling to preserve a piece of Doncaster’s mining history have won their fight with less than 48 hours to spare – after Historic England granted two pithead structures protected status.
The pithead structure at Hatfield Colliery – one of the last three deep coal mines in the UK – was due to be demolished tomorrow (Thursday, November 12) by Doncaster council in order to prevent ‘serious health and safety incidents’.
However, this decision has now been overturned after an application to Historic England calling for the pithead structure to be given grade 2 protected status was awarded yesterday – with less than 48 hours to spare.
“It’s helping to preserve our legacy,” said Mr Lanaghan, of West Avenue, Stainforth.
The 56-year-old, who worked at Hatfield Main for over a decade, added: “We’re all still in a state of shock. We had resigned ourselves to the fact that we would lose one of them, but we didn’t expect this.
“It’s a piece of Doncaster’s mining history and you can see it from the road, from the rail network and even from the air – it’s our Angel of the North.
“But we’d like to be confident that this is something we can achieve.”
The closure of the colliery in the summer marked the end of an era for the coal industry and resulted in the loss of 430 jobs.
Existing landowners, the Crown Estate, having no responsibility for the site for legal reasons and with no other body addressing this issue, the council say they have been left with no option but to ‘step in’.
She told the Free Press: “We are all immensely proud of Doncaster’s coal mining heritage, but the fact is that these dilapidated head stocks are an accident waiting to happen.
“The decision taken by Historic England appears to have been taken with no thought to a funding plan for a decaying structure.
“This will put the public at risk in the short term and could cost Doncaster taxpayers millions over the coming years.
“Local people should not be forced to cover the cost for a site which is privately owned.
The costs of making the existing site safe and secure without demolition work are estimated to be £1 million with significant on-going maintenance and security costs every year.