Monday, September 30, 2013

News: Hargreaves' plan for Maltby unit

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Hargreaves Services plc, the owner of Maltby Colliery in Rotherham, is hoping to move the operations of one of its subsidiaries on to the site now that underground operations have ceased.

Maltby occupies a site of 500 acres and employed over 500 staff and contractors. It is the last coking coal mine left in the UK and produced both high quality coking coal and power station coal.

The owners confirmed mothballing in December last year following no viable alternative solution being found to geological reports that indicated that the risks associated with mining a new panel, called T125, had not significantly reduced and that the panel is not viable on health & safety, geological, and financial grounds.

Hargreaves has now submitted a planning application that would enable a storage building on the site to be used for general industry and become a new operation for manufacturing firm, AJS Contracts Ltd. The Hargreaves subsidiary provides structural and mechanical engineering services to the power generation industry. It undertakes design, fabrication and refurbishment works at its current Creswell facility as well as structural and mechanical services on various UK power stations.

If approved, the 18,000 sq ft building would be home to 20 staff on the site which AJS would use to provide support functions to the main engineering business, including parts storage, a servicing facility and a general workshop.

Despite being within a 500 acre colliery, the site is still designated as Green Belt. The plans, put together by Turley Associates, state that: "The change of use application will not result in harm to the Green Belt or its openness and it constitutes sustainable economic development.

"The reuse of the building for a new use is not considered to be inappropriate development as the existing building is of permanent and substantial construction and which forms part of a wider complex of buildings.

"The development will generate indirect and induced positive economic multiplier effects to the wider Maltby area."

Without capital intensive underground workings, Maltby continues to trade with approximately one million tonnes of tiny coal particles called "fines" being harvested and processed. It also provides management services and support to Hatfield Colliery in Doncaster.

A restoration programme, including the filling and capping of mine shafts, is set to be completed in 2014.

Beyond that, the council and Hargreaves have been in discussions regarding how the site fits into the council's Local Plan which sets out policies and proposals for new housing, shopping and employment.

Hargreaves website

Images: Hargreaves Services

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