Wednesday, August 24, 2016

News: Maltby restoration plans recommended for approval

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New plans that involve the importation of 1.32 million tonnes of material for the restoration of Maltby Colliery in Rotherham are being recommended for approval.

The 500 acre colliery was mined for over 100 years until geological conditions could not be overcome and underground operations ceased in 2013.

It had been expected to continue coal production until 2025 but the winding tower was brought down in 2014 and the mine shafts have been filled and capped. With the sudden closure, the future restoration scheme, included in the planning permission for the mine's operation, is being re-examined.

On behalf of Hargreaves Maltby Limited, consultants at Signet Planning submitted new detailed planning documents to Rotherham Council outlining the scheme.

The plans, which involve cut and fill operations, the import of 1.32 million tonnes of suitable fill material and 150,000 tonnes of soil making materials, are going before the council's planning board this week and planners are being recommended to approve the plans, subject to a number of conditions.

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A previous application involving the importation of 450,000 tonnes of mine runoff fines, known as MRF, to be transported each year from nearby Hatfield Colliery and deposited in the current lagoon at Maltby were refused by the planing board in 2014, despite the council's planning officers recommending that the plans be approved.

Regarding the latest restoration, which is estimated to take six years and six months, planners have assessed impacts such as noise, traffic and landscape and made comparisons to the previous scheme approved in 2010.

The site sits within the borough's Green Belt and the restoration is set to include 19.8 hectares of new native broadleaved woodland and scrub; 23.1 hectares of neutral grassland with wildflowers; 47.2 hectares of amenity grassland and/or biomass; and 3.6 kilometres of new public access routes linking with the wider rights of way network.
2014 plans were refused by the members of the planning board who felt that the importation of material represents inappropriate development in the Green Belt, as it does not relate to the material produced from the Maltby Colliery, and that the HGV vehicle movements resulting from the development are detrimental.

In this case the planners agree that the restoration will bring many positive benefits and that "very special circumstances" exist to warrant the grant of planning permission for this development in the Green Belt in this instance.

The plans envisage a worst case of five to six HGV arrivals per hour (or ten to 12 HGV movements) whilst material is being imported. The planners state that this is "very similar to the traffic movements generated by the colliery when it was operational." A contribution of £6,000 for additional road improvements is being made a condition of planning permission.

The report to the planning board concludes: "While there are some negative impact of the proposal, mainly the importation of material by HGVs, the positive impact of the environmentally acceptable restoration scheme to secure the reclamation of the site clearly outweigh the impacts."

Images: Hargreaves Services


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