Bretton Hall plan at risk?

Bretton Hall
Bretton Hall

WAKEFIELD Council is fighting to stop an opencast coal-mining scheme close to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

The council says the two-and-a-half year mining scheme, could “significantly harm” their plans to invest in the area to create up to 1,000 jobs and build a luxury hotel at Bretton Hall.

Last year the YSP completed a £500,000 project to restore the historic Bretton lakes and woodland.

Andy Wallhead, corporate director for regeneration and economic growth, said: “It is critical to the delivery of the Bretton Hall Estate regeneration and continued success of the YSP that adverse external factors such as this development should not be allowed to directly threaten the heritage of the area and the revitalisation of the local economy.”

We recognise that the scheme must be properly considered but we do not think that its merits outweigh the significant harm that will be caused to the character and the economic regeneration of the area.”

The developers , Gordon Harrison Ltd. plan to extract 190,000 tonnes of coal and 40,000 tonnes of fireclay from a 10.5-hectare site off Litherop Lane, Clayton West.

And Wakefield Council have objected to the developers plans, submitted to Kirklees Council

Deputy council leader Coun Denise Jeffery said: “If these proposals are allowed then the significant investment made in the YSP over the last 35 years will be devalued and longer term investment may not come, which would be damaging to long-term growth and jobs in the area.”

A spokeswoman for YSP, which attracts 350,000 visitors and generates about £5m a year for the city’s economy, said there were concerns over the plan.

But Mark Barrett, of Silkstone Environmental Ltd which represents the developers, said they had looked closely at the impacts on Wakefield.

He said: “We understand the concerns about Bretton Hall, but the hall is about 1km from the proposed site. There are wooded and elevated areas that will block the view.

“The land will be restored to agriculture and we’ll be planting hedgerows, building a bridle way and trying to attract wildlife. Within three or four years you won’t be able to tell there was an opencast mine.”

Mr Barrett said it would bring 24 jobs. Consultation on the plans ends today.