Pit regeneration to ‘transform’ town

Land at the top of Westfield Lane South Elmsall.
Land at the top of Westfield Lane South Elmsall.

A multi-million pound scheme to regenerate the former Frickley Colliery site will create jobs and “completely transform” South Elmsall, according to developers.

Housing company Keepmoat – in partnership with Wakefield Council – will build nearly 200 new homes at the former pit as part of the National Coalfields Programme.

A ground-breaking ceremony to mark the start of the housing scheme was held at the site on Friday – 111 years since the first ground was broken at the opening of the colliery in 1903.

Mark Knight, regional managing director for Keepmoat Yorkshire, said: “This new development will completely transform South Elmsall for the better.

“Not only will we be creating jobs, we encouraged local businesses to get involved in the scheme and hope to be able to boost the local economy by awarding millions of pounds worth of work locally.

“We are delighted to be working with the council and the community to build a better future for South Elmsall.”

Andy Wallhead, Wakefield Council’s corporate director for regeneration and economic growth, said: “This development will create job opportunities and provide new housing for the local community.

“Working in partnership with Keepmoat, we have been able to ask local businesses to get involved which could make a real difference to the local economy.”

Bob Brown, who worked at the colliery for 24 years before its closure in 1993 and is chairman of the local history group, attended the launch of the housing scheme.

Mr Brown, 77, said: “It was incredibly sad to see the mine close, but these new homes will go some way to help the community look to the future of the area.

“It’s taken us a long time to get back on our feet, but there is light at the end of the tunnel.”

Remediation work costing £7.3m took place at the site in 2008 and 2009. The site forms part of the wider Westfield Lane improvement area in South Elmsall which will include 700 homes, leisure facilities and recreation space.

The housing project, supported by the Government’s Regional Growth Fund, will see 190 new homes built over two phases as part of the Homes and Communities National Coalfields Programme which identified sites across the country for redevelopment and investment in the wake of pit closures in the 80s and 90s.

The development will be a mix of two, three and four-bedroom properties. For more information call Keepmoat on 01977 877507.