After months of negotiations, Gedling Borough Council announced today that it had secured land on the site of the former Gedling Colliery to transform into a country park.
Gedling Colliery is one of the last remaining collieries to be re-developed and has remained dormant since the colliery was closed in 1991.
The council has agreed a long-term lease with site owners Harworth Estates that will pave the way to create a 238 acre area of parkland with lagoons, footpaths, cycle trails and hiking routes. The lagoons will be complimented by picnic areas that will be fully accessible for all, including disabled people.
The country park will also be a haven for local wildlife, and the Council is ambitious for the site to become accredited as a local nature reserve. Future development plans also include a children’s play area and, subject to funding, a permanent visitor’s centre exploring the area’s heritage.
Now that the land has been secured, the Council is set to invest nearly £1 million, including £630,000 of funding provided by Gedling Homes and a further £250,000 from the Homes and Community Agency (HCA), to complete the first phase of works that will get the country park up and running and open to the public. The Council plans to establish a “Friends Of” group to pursue future funding and investment opportunities, and to ensure that local residents are fully involved in the design, development and on-going management of the country park. The park is anticipated to open to the public by Autumn 2014.
Councillor John Clarke, Leader of Gedling Borough Council, said: “This is a historic moment for the people of Gedling. There’s been talk about creating a country park on the site of the former Gedling pit ever since it was closed and I’m absolutely delighted to announce that the Council has secured the land to make this happen. Sealing this land deal has been a long and often frustrating exercise but we’ve stuck with it and can now look forward to seeing local people out on the new park enjoying themselves.
“The colliery site was the focal point of the local community for many many years and will become so again. The country park will provide a beautiful place for people to enjoy and bring back to life the great heritage and history of this part of Gedling. It will also bring a welcome boost to the local economy and provide a place where people can take their families for walks, cycle rides and wildlife spotting in clean, fresh air with fantastic views.”
Owen Michaelson, Chief Executive of Harworth Estates, who worked with the council to transfer the land, commented “Having worked for some years with Gedling Council on this proposed Country Park, I’m delighted that we’ve now transferred 240 acres to the Council which will enable the final stages of restoration to take place.
“It’s been very satisfying being involved in this project which turns the legacy of coal mining into something that can be enjoyed by so many members of the local community. I’m also pleased that, nearby, the former mine site continues to generate energy by harnessing old mines gas as well as a proposed new facility that aims to provide solar power.
“A great new future for an old industrial site”