A silver lining to Smalley’s coal mining dust cloud has been revealed in the shape of £208 ,000 of improvements to the village and surrounding area.
An £85,000 revamp of the Dobholes Lane Recreation Ground is one of the latest of nine schemes now confirmed under the Lodge House Surface Mine Extension Community Fund, which opened in April.
The money is being released by the struggling company as part of a planning agreement made when it won the right expand operations of its Lodge House site in October 2011.
Smalley resident and former chairman of the Smalley Action Group, which lost the battle to halt UK Coal’s open cast extension there Neil Paget, says the improvements are a welcome consolation – despite having to live with increased daily traffic movements and dust caused by the operation.
He said: “We didn’t want UK Coal to come to the village in the first place - but we battled hard to get more funding for the community .
“To be honest we still get dust on the back of our window, we only live 200 metres away from the site, and we do get the noise - but you do get used to it I suppose.”
Mr Paget now sits on the liaison committee formed among residents of Smalley and surrounding area, Derbyshire County Council and UK Coal, to decide where the money is spent.
A total of £208,000 has been allocated so far, including £890 released for roof repairs to the Shipley Parish Room Trust and £23,000 towards early years outdoor learning play provision at Smalley Richardson Endowed Primary School.
The £85,000 designated to Shipley Parish Council to improve Dobholes Lane Recreation Ground, could see s multi purpose all weather sports pitch and new play equipment built there by next June.
Smaller monies have been designated to Horsley Woodhouse’s carnival and the village’s over 60s club.
Derbyshire Environmetnal Trust, administering the scheme, says another £60,000 has been approved for schemes in principal and community groups are being invited to bid for the remaining £50,000.
Anyone interested in applying should download a form from the Environmental Trust page on the Derbyshire County Council website www.derbyshire.gov.uk, or call 01629 539182.