Major leisure scheme on coal mine site near York is approved

Aerial view of the site <i>(Image: Planning documents)</i>
Aerial view of the site (Image: Planning documents)

A major tourism venture has been approved on the site of a former coal mine near York.

The planning committee of City of York Council has followed officer recommendations by approving the final details of the scheme at the North Selby Mine at New Road, Deighton.

The scheme concerning the coal mine, which closed over 20 years ago, had already been approved at the outline stage in 2022.

At the meeting on Thursday members appeared keen to make major changes to the conditions imposed on the development, with reminding them they were there to approve matters concerning the scheme’s appearance, landscaping, layout and scale.

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Approved plans already allow for static and touring vans on the 36.4 ha site.

As previously reported, when plans were first submitted in 2019, the scheme promised a boost to the local area of £7m to £9m, creating between 400 and 500 direct, indirect and induced jobs.

The Reserved Matters which were approved confirmed the location of some 80 touring pitches, 216 static caravans with leisure facilities including a café/wine bar, laundrette, gym and beauty spas.

Such facilities would be centrally placed within the site using the former colliery buildings which would be refurbished.

In a report prepared for the meeting, officers noted Yorkshire Wildlife Trust had concerns over the impact extra cats and dogs may have on wildlife at a nearby SINC (Site of Importance for Nature Conservation).

Members agreed, with them calling for cat-proof fences to prevent them killing rare birds that live on the nature reserve. They were later able to impose a domestic-animal proof fence being erected as a condition.

Members also raised concerns over who would be able to gain access to the site and its facilities.

They confirmed a condition that they would only be used by those staying in the caravans.

Before members voted to approve the application, Cllr Christian Vassie raised the heritage of the site, which had been proposed as a possible site for renewable energy, following the closure of the coal mine in 2002.

Cllr Vassie said: “This site is on top of one of the largest coal mines in Europe. It could be providing power to 1200 homes.”

Science City York signed a memorandum of understanding with UK Coal in 2009 to help create a centre of excellence for renewable energies, which promised 150 jobs.

Later, in April 2014, plans for an anaerobic digester, combined heat and power plant, with horticultural facilities, was granted planning approval on the site, but was never constructed.

“I think that’s a tragedy,” he said, though he did not refer to any schemes directly.

Cllr Vassie wanted measures to help the environment, but noting how caravan sites can change their uses, becoming more residential/permanent, he added: “I’m not opposed to a campsite but I have reservations.”