PLANS for an opencast mine close to Yorkshire Sculpture Park and Bretton Hall have been rejected.

Gordon Harrison applied to Kirklees Council for surface mineral working at Dearne Lea, Clayton West - but it's been rejected because of the impact it would have on the two sites.

The firm wanted to extract 190,000 tonnes of coal and 40,000 tonnes of fire clay from the agricultural land.

However, councillors said they felt uncomfortable with the proposal which they believed would be detrimental to the Bretton Hall area.

It would have created 12 full-time jobs on site and supported 25 people in haulage and maintenance during its two-and-a-half year operation.

On completion of the mining works, the land would have been filled in and restored.

English Heritage and Wakefield Council both objected to the plans, which follows the Wakefield authority recently approving plans for a 120-bedroom hotel and spa and business park at Bretton, creating up to 500 jobs.

The reasons for refusal include causing encroachment into open countryside and the proposal wouldn't preserve the openness of the green belt land.

Officials for the council's planning department said while the development would have been temporary, planners felt it would have had a 'significant detrimental impact' on the visual amenity and landscape character of the area - particularly when viewed at distance and seen alongside the surrounding Bretton Hall Estate Parkland.

Older members of the community can still recollect the 'destruction' caused by earlier mining operations.

Richard Graham said he remembers it well as he lived in nearby High Hoyland in the 1950s.

"I remember hundreds of acres of farmland between High Hoyland and Clayton West were affected.

"I am sure mining methods will have changed, over the years, but one thing that can't be changed is the need to move thousands of tons of soil and rock to get to the coal.

"I remember the dust this created in summer and the mud that coated the roads in winter - the whole area was a mess for several years.

"I am glad we are to be spared a second experience of it."