Mining could return to pit village

slob.pic.candidate  Bill Birch (tory) (NS)
slob.pic.candidate Bill Birch (tory) (NS)

COAL mining could return to the pit village of Crofton.

Parish councillors have been presented with plans to build a drift mine on land between New Crofton and Wintersett close to the railway line.

They have been told the mine would bring jobs to the area and could bring financial benefits to nearby villages in the form of a community trust.

The plan, developed by mining engineer Bill Birch, is in its early stages and planning permission has not yet been applied for.

Christine Dart, of Crofton Parish Council, said the project seemed positive.

She said: “It could be a positive move because it is proposed to be a co-operative with worker participation. It would be as environmentally-friendly as possible and would create jobs.

“There would also be a trust set up which would take a percentage of the profits and benefit the villages, Crofton in particular.”

Drift mines cut into the side of an incline rather than tunnelling downwards as with a shaft mine. They are normally driven at a straight incline so material can be removed with the help of gravity.

Mrs Dart said the proposal would make use of an existing coal extraction area to minimise disruption.

She said: “There would be minimal disruption because the plan is for 90 per cent to be transported by rail rather than through local villages. Any waste product would be put back underground.

“However the plan is at very tentative stages – they have got to get agreements from Harworth Estates and UK Coal. And following that they would have to apply for planning permission.

“It would be a small project, hopefully with minimal disruption. It is an interesting idea but we have no idea if it will come to fruition yet.”

Crofton was predominantly a mining community from the 19th century up until the 1980s and the demise of the coal industry during the miners’ strike of 1984-85 and the closure of pits.

There were three coal mines, Nostell, Walton and Sharlston, within a two-mile radius of the village.

And houses were built at New Crofton for mineworkers.