'It's been 50 years - now sort out our Doncaster village's old slag heap'

It is nearly 50 years since their local colliery closed - but a group of frustrated Doncaster residents claim they are still waiting for its spoil heap to be properly restored.

Bullcroft Colliery ceased production in September 1970, and was completely demolished by 1974, when the National Coal Board decided to access its reserves from Brodsworth instead.

Linda Mitchell, Ian Mitchell, Julie Cooper and Judy Bowers at the entrance to the former Bullcroft Colliery spoil heap, in Skellow

Linda Mitchell, Ian Mitchell, Julie Cooper and Judy Bowers at the entrance to the former Bullcroft Colliery spoil heap, in Skellow

But now, decades later, residents believe that while neighbouring spoil heaps like Brodsworth and Bentley have been improved and made into assets that the community can use for leisure, the Bullcroft tip, in Skellow, has been left behind.

Linda Mitchell, co-ordinator of the Old Skellow Neighbourhood Watch, and the Skellow, Carcroft, Adwick and Woodlands Action Group, says residents are unhappy over the lack of work to improve the site, parts of which were flooded in recent rainy weather.

She said: "The pit tip mound is comprised of the mining waste generated during the operational life of the Bullcroft Colliery. The ground is now covered with a mixture of gorse and grass and low lying bushes. The land has been left to deteriorate to such an extent that it is basically an overgrown scrub land with no formalised footpaths only tracks caused by dog walkers and quad and motor bikes.

"The entrance is usually flooded, the gate is hanging off and there is nowhere to park for anyone wishing to drive to the site to take a walk away from traffic.

"We understand that it is likely that the tip may contain residual coal deposits, and it was thought that these would be sufficiently large to make their recovery a viable proposition. However, in the present climate with the closure of all mines and local power stations, we assume that coal extraction is no longer feasible.

"All other pit tips in the area, Brodsworth, Bentley, and Askern,have been developed and landscaped to provide ponds/water and plant/tree areas for wild life, play areas for children, hard core paths for walking, cycle paths and car parking areas."

She said she no one at Doncaster Council would speak to them on the issue.

Fellow resident Andy Cooper said: "We want this to be somewhere where children are able to play and perhaps ride their bikes safely."

His wife, Julie Cooper added: "If it was developed it would be a brilliant place for people to come and use."

Plans were drawn up in 2013 to extract 280,000 tonnes of coal from the site over three years. The value of coal fell, and the plan never progressed.

Mrs Mitchell said: "All other pit heads in our area have been developed to provide safe and pleasant play, walking and seating areas for residents away from the ever
increasing noise and emissions of the traffic passing through the villages. We ask that we are afforded the same respect as residents from other villages."

Doncaster Council says there are no plans to re-develop the site.

Peter Dale, director for regeneration and environment, said: “The council do regularly make checks on the former Bull Croft Colliery site and it is maintained for use by the community.

“Plans have been made in previous years by organisations in the private sector to redevelop the site but these plans did not come to fruition. There are currently no plans in place to redevelop this site and we will continue to make regular checks and maintain the site.”