Hundreds of homes could be built on the site of a Doncaster mine – spelling the end of a pit landmark visible for miles around.
Plans have been unveiled to demolish the pit head at Harworth Colliery and build more than 1,600 houses on the site.
And the scheme – proposed by Bassetlaw Council and Harworth Estates – has been boosted after it was one of 29 sites shortlisted to become a Government housing zone.
Ten zones will be created, which would receive funding to transform former industrial land into residential use.
Plans to build several hundred houses on part of the site have been in place for a while, but bosses had until recently hoped to reopen the mine, which was mothballed in 2006.
However, it has now been confirmed the latest plans would see the tower which houses the winding gear demolished, making room for an extra 750 houses, taking the total proposed to 1,628.
David Armiger, Bassetlaw Council head of regeneration, said the plans would be expected to go ahead with or without housing zone status, but the status would mean the scheme proceeded more quickly.
He said Bassetlaw Growth Team, in partnership with landowner Harworth Estates and Harworth and Bircotes Town Council submitted a bid to Government for a development of 1,628 additional new homes and community infrastructure on the site.
If successful, the bid would provide funding for land remediation and the infrastructure needed to develop the area – one of the largest brownfield sites in the area – including a new primary school, open spaces, sport pitches, community facilities, bus station and affordable housing.
Coun Jo White, council cabinet member for regeneration, said: “We are delighted the government is recognising Harworth’s potential.
“The town and surrounding area boasts 101 hectares of well-connected employment land we are actively marketing for development.
“The housing zone will enable the development of good quality, mixed-tenure new housing and facilities to provide for this growing community.”
Coun June Evans, town council chairman, said: “We are taking great strides forward in Harworth and Bircotes and in the last couple of years have seen the development of new supermarkets, a neighbourhood plan and an upsurge in interest from house builders and businesses looking to invest and locate in the area.
“Working in partnership with Harworth Estates will see improvements to community facilities and our town centre.
“We are keen to see this zone brings forward not only houses, but family-friendly facilities, a new bus terminus, new primary school and good quality, well-managed open spaces.”
She said the scheme was vital to the regeneration of Harworth, where unemployment was about 20 per cent.
She said she expected the pit head would be knocked down in the next few months.
Chancellor George Osbourne, discussing the housing zones, said: “A key part of our long-term economic plan is to build the houses Britain needs, so more families can have the security that comes with home ownership.
“That’s why I’m delighted to announce the areas shortlisted to become the first housing zones in England which, as part of a wider package of measures, will help deliver up to 200,000 new homes on brownfield land.”
Brandon Lewis, housing minister, said: “Getting Britain building is a vital part of our long-term economic plan. And, since 2010 we have seen construction on new housing rise to the highest level since 2007.
“Twenty-nine areas across England have now been shortlisted to become one of the first housing zones, to deliver new homes quickly on brownfield land.
“The 10 finally chosen will then have the chance to build homes for local communities while continuing to protect the green belt.”
Hatfield Colliery is the only remaining operational pit in the Doncaster area.