Published on March 5th, 2013 | by Alastair Gilmour


Mining application casts a huge shadow

Award-winning Northumberland licensees have made an impassioned plea for urgent help as local councillors consider plans for an opencast coal mine near their pubs.

Helen Greer and Rhian Cradock from The Feathers Inn at Hedley on the Hill believe the mine could destroy not only their business but others in the area and kill the region as a tourist destination. Similarly, Gavin and Karen Reay at The Anchor Inn, Whittonstall, are adamant it would cause the slow death of their peaceful village.

“If the application by UK Coal goes ahead it will have an adverse effect on businesses in the area which depends heavily on visitors,” says Helen Greer.

She believes there would also be a loss of amenities such as pathways and bridleways, visual intrusion on a grand scale and the destruction of wildlife habitats.

“We’re working really hard to give people in the North East a reason to come out here,” says Helen. “We’re very proud of the area’s industrial heritage, but the future for us lies in tourism – as it is for everybody and every business in the area.

“What people really need to do is write to or email Northumberland Council, it’s the only way for them to object.”

Gavin Reay, owner of The Anchor Inn, which overlooks the proposed site, says: “The opencast mining will have a negative effect on the area not only the proximity to our children’s school, but also to local employment. Trade at our pub will definitely be affected with the likelihood of closure.

“We currently employ more than 20 staff and have over the last seven years trained several apprentices – this alone is more local jobs than the opencast will be likely to create over the same time. We have shelved plans to extend our popular letting accommodation which has attracted more than 3,000 visitors to the area as the financial risk is too great.

“The steel and mining industries in our area were dismantled on the back of imported coal – two million tonnes of coal would take a couple of months to import, not the seven years that our children, villages, and businesses would have to suffer.”

A spokesman for Northumberland County Council said the planning application by UK Coal is currently being discussed and a decision is likely to be made at the next planning meeting on March 5. Visit

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Alastair Gilmour

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