The developers behind the site of the former Kellingley Colliery coal mine in North Yorkshire hope to begin work on the site by 2019 and has already had expression of interests from firms looking to set up on the site.
Harworth Group, the former property arm of UK Coal, has been granted permission to develop the 151 acre site to provide up to 1.45 million square feet of manufacturing and distribution space, which could bring as much as £200m of benefit to the local economy.
The firm is currently well-underway with demolition of the old deep coal mine which closed in December 2015 making the end of deep coal mining in Britain.
Harworth’s finance director Andrew Kirkman, said the company wanted to use local contractors and employment as much as possible in the redevelopment process and that it expected some form of the original feature of the mine to be retained out of respect for the site’s industrial heritage.
The Yorkshire Post can also reveal that among the interested parties in taking up residency on the site are an international business.
Mr Kirkman said: “We are in the middle of demolition at the moment.
“We have obviously only got outline planning permission so we would need to get more detailed.
“We are likely to bring something forward by 2019. It could be earlier than that.
“With Kellingley you have got to remember that the majority of people in the area either worked here or knew someone who worked here, and therefore the sentimentality to that association is huge, which is why we do try to retain some features so people recognise that heritage.
“We have huge respect for the people who worked here. People lost lives here. And therefore we need to very respectful of that and we absolutely are.”
He added that it was likely the famous Kellingley tower would be removed.
“Clearly you have got a site that has an incredible heritage,” he said.
“One of the things we are very clear and keen on is that on a number of our sites we try to retain a degree of features. Whether it is a winding wheel or something which we keep on site, ultimately it is whatever will work best for the local community.”
Mr Kirkman said that the site was well suited to small industries but that its size, as well as the rail and road links, made it suitable for logistics too.
“I always say we are very customer-focused,” he said.
“If you want to put it another way, we will do anything.
“We will sell bits of the site; we will do leasehold long-lease deals where we will just be the landlord; we will do some development ourselves, both to help bring the site forward and to take an income from it and we will do forward funded deals. It is whatever works best in bringing the site forward.”
Iain Thomson, associate director for partnerships and communications with Harworth Group, said that among those who had expressed an interest in the site were “an international company with a rail requirement”.
He said: “They came to us before we got planning, so they have already been in to see us.
“We have had a recent enquiry come in from an international business through the Department for International Trade. They came in wanting a large tract of land.
“In terms of smaller uses, we have just started to market the scheme with two local agents, Gent Visick and Knight Frank, with fairly steady interest so far.”
Mr Kirkman said that a focus on Yorkshire would be a massive part of what Harworth did with the site.
“Yorkshire is our biggest market, we see massive opportunities and I think there is a vibrancy about Yorkshire.
“We want local contractors. We want jobs locally because that way we have got the most chance of the scheme being successful and we have go the most chance of that local support.
“For us it is brilliant to bring forward sites, to bring forward effectively new communities, we are effectively making places that did not exist before.”