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“Do you believe it is the best interests of the Rossington community to encourage extra housing on the Greenfield sites around or within our village?”

898 residents voted against this proposal and 31 for it. This was interpreted as a

“thumbs down to further development” 24.

However, according to the Rossington Ecotown web site, this proposal is still being progressed.

Again, for those opposing UK Coal’s opencast planning applications this example shows how UK Coal plc can use the label of an area being a ‘brownfield ‘ site. The plan put forwards by the original Rossington Eco-Town Partnership seemed to ignore the original guidance about the use of land for Eco- Towns where in 2007 one of the criteria set out with regard to land stated

“ Wherever there are good opportunities to do so, schemes should make use of suitable surplus public sector land, or brownfield land.” 25

In this case, UK Coal plc thought that it was quite reasonable to suggest a plan that would involve two thirds of the houses being built on green field land. At the meeting on July 23rd 2008 the Minister could not explain

how the original application had made the shortlist after the Rossington Newsletter drew the public’s attention to the discrepancy.

Conclusions from this section

It seems reasonable to conclude that the conditions that UK Coal plc agree to in order to gain permission to work land for mineral purposes may only be considered by the company as a ‘temporary’ impediment. The real intention to change the designation of the land for planning purposes may be revealed later.

These case studies demonstrate how flexible UK Coal plc’s designation of term ‘brownfield’ is. This designation, if unchallenged, may lead to other parties being misled and accepting the definition UK Coal plc ascribe to the land bank ‘under development’ in the Project Worth definition of what is a brown field site.

All communities and local authorities in whom UK Coal plc currently operates or seeks to operate should be aware that if UK Coal plc gains temporary permission to exploit a mineral resource, they may afterwards seek to permanently alter the use the land is put to.


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