LIFE AFTER THE PIT

TEN years ago, Asfordby was hit by one of the biggest events in its industrial history.

After more than a decade of mining, Asfordby superpit closed down when geological problems made it impossible to continue.

The closure cost 500 jobs, and Asfordby Valley was hit by two major floods in the aftermath.

A concerted effort was made to save the site, but disaster struck in August 1997 when a 120-metre face was crushed under a massive rock fall and flood, destroying 6million worth of equipment.

Geologists said the cause of the problem was a series of volcanic sills – beds of hard rocks – which lay above the coal seams and caused extreme weighting on the face.

When the pit closed, it was estimated there was still more than 500 million tonnes of coal under the Vale of Belvoir.

Bernard Chapman, who now lives in Ab Kettleby but was Asfordby county councillor at the time said: "In some ways I was sad to see the mine close, but I believe it was for the best in the long term.

"It should never have been there in the first place because of the geological problems. I felt sympathy towards the residents of Asfordby because they didn't want it there either."

Although some had predicted an economic catastrophe, the closure's financial impact was not as harsh as expected as 75 per cent of the mine's workforce were from outside the region.

Borough councillor Mal Sheldon, who also sits on Asfordby Parish Council said: "The people that worked there didn't come into Asfordby that often.

"They lived all over the country. The biggest impact from the closure was the flooding, which caused hundreds of thousands of pounds of damage."

Don Tempest, vice-chairman of Asfordby Parish Council, said that Asfordby Business Park – built about 10 years ago near the former pit – has been a success.

He said: "The business park seems to have thrived in the wake of the superpit. Anytime I've had to go down there it looks like it's going well.

"There's about 10 businesses down there if not more, and I'm always surprised to see the number of cars at the site."

There are currently no major redevelopment plans for the site submitted to the borough council.