Plans to breathe new life into old colliery site which retains its valuable rail links

PLANS to turn a former colliery in North Yorkshire into an industrial park more than a decade after its closure could create up to 2,000 jobs, developers have claimed.
An artist's impression of the plan.An artist's impression of the plan.
An artist's impression of the plan.

Regeneration specialist Harworth Group has put forward proposals to redevelop the site of the former Gascoigne Wood Colliery in Sherburn-in-Elmet, which closed in 2004.

A freight rail station which still operates on the 276-acre site will form a key part of the plans to bring the land back into use. There would also be up to 2m sq ft of industrial and storage space.

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Gascoigne Wood has been identified by Selby District Council as one of five key employment sites within its economic growth plan. As a result, Harworth has signed an agreement with the authority to ensure its outline planning application is considered swiftly.

The leader of Selby District Council, Coun Mark Crane, said: “Gascoigne has the potential to be a really significant new investment site for the whole of Yorkshire – as it’s a major site with direct rail connections and easy road access, too. This is one of five large developments planned for our area which we’ve been supporting because of their potential to deliver significant new job opportunities and business investment.

“We benefit from being right at the heart of Yorkshire, and we’re the fastest-growing part of North Yorkshire – it’s really important that the council can build on this to make the most of these new

opportunities for people living and working in the area.”

He said that while the authority had been working with the developers to shape the proposals, the “application will have to go through a full planning process”.

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Tim Love, director of strategic land at the Harworth Group, said: “The site represents a great opportunity for Selby to leverage its unique locational advantages to create thousands of new rail-connected jobs.

“We have spent a number of months working closely with Selby District Council, North Yorkshire County Council, technical advisors and key commercial agents to formulate a realistic plan to fully account for the constraints and opportunities the site offers, and we look forward to the application being considered as soon as possible.”

During its operation as a coal mine, the site was the central hub of the Selby coalfield complex, which was the largest deep coal mining project undertaken in the world when it was developed in the 1980s.

Full production at the complex began in 1988, which involved the loading of 15 trains per day and a total distribution of approximately 12m tonnes of coal per year via the rail network.

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Since the site closed, most of the buildings have been demolished, the plant cleared and the drifts sealed.

Businesses which are operating on part of the site will be unaffected by the development, the company said.