Papers relating to the Vale of Belvoir Coalfield Inquiry, collected by the Belvoir Research Project at the Institute of Planning Studies, University of Nottingham; 1977-1981

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

The collection predominantly comprises copies of material generated by the Public Inquiry process.

It includes statements and reports of interested parties following the initial proposals and application (MS 643/2); statements and transcripts of a Preliminary Meeting held in May 1978 (MS 643/3); submissions, lists of witnesses and agendas relating to the Public Inquiry (MS 643/4); opening statements to the Public Inquiry (MS 643/5); daily transcripts of proceedings at the Public Inquiry (MS 643/6), Inquiry Documents laid before the Public Inquiry (MS 643/7) and Proofs of Evidence of witnesses to thePublic Inquiry (MS 643/8). All of these documents were sent to the Belvoir Research Project group as interested parties. The Public Inquiry documents provide details relating to the economics of the coal mining industry, the geology of the Vale of Belvoir, procedures for setting up new coal mines, and the opinions of planning bodies, pressure groups, and individuals living in the affected area.

Background papers collected by or related to the running of the Belvoir Research Project are in series MS 643/1.

The final report of the group, 'The planning system and major industrial developments : Responses to the Belvoir coalfield proposals', by P. Hills, H. McClintock, D.R. Cope, K. and Williams (London : Social Science Research Council, 1980), does not form part of this collection.

Administrative / Biographical History

In 1977, consultants to the National Coal Board published a report, 'The Belvoir Prospect', setting out detailed proposals for the development of the North East Leicestershire coalfield in the Vale of Belvoir. The NCB's application was for underground workings in an area bounded by Cropwell Bishop, Granby, Redmile, Muston, Wyville, Melton Mowbray, Dalby Wolds and Hickling, in the counties of Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire and Lincolnshire. Three mines, at Hose, Saltby and Asfordby, were proposed.

Anticipating a Public Inquiry into the proposals, Dr Keith Williams (Lecturer in Regional Planning) and Mr Hugh McClintock (Lecturer in Planning Practice) at the Institute of Planning Studies at the University of Nottingham sought funding for a research project from the Social Science Research Council (S.S.R.C.). The project, run by the Coal, Environment and Planning Research Programme (C.E.P.R.P.), later the Energy Planning Group (E.P.G.) at the Institute of Planning Studies, had two phases. The Pre-Inquiry phase of the research project, which began in March 1978, aimed to examine and evaluate how a group of local planning authorities and other public sector agencies responded to the development proposal. The N.C.B.'s planning application for the three mine sites was submitted to Leicestershire County Council in August 1978, and was opposed by Leicestershire County Council, and by an umbrella organisation of local protest groups known as the 'Alliance'.

On 30 October 1979, a Public Inquiry ('the Vale of Belvoir Inquiry') was opened at Stoke Rochford Hall near Grantham. It was heard before Michael Mann Q.C., Dr R.K. Taylor and S.W. Midwinter, and sat for 84 days until 2 May 1980. The Inquiry phase of the research project aimed to analyse the transcripts of the Inquiry, to review the Inspector's Report to the Minister, and to write a report discussing the adequacy of the Public Inquiry system. Dr Williams was replaced on the project by Dr Peter Hills in 1980.

Michael Mann's report was published in 1981, and in March 1982 the Secretary of State for the Environment rejected the application. However, the Government did give approval in 1984 for a single colliery at Asfordby. The shafts were sunk in 1986, but the colliery closed in 1999.

Arrangement

The collection, with the exception of series MS 643/1-2, has been arranged according to the classification system used by the Belvoir Research Project. Items are grouped according to the stage of the Inquiry and the form of the document. Items in MS 643/1-2 have been arranged chronologically.

Conditions Governing Access

Accessible to all readers.

Other Finding Aids

Copyright in all Finding Aids belongs to the University of Nottingham.

In the Reading Room, King's Meadow Campus:

Typescript catalogue, 9 pp.

Online:

Catalogue accessible from the website of Manuscripts and Special Collections, Manuscripts Online Catalogue.

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

Good

Conditions Governing Use

Identification of copyright holders of unpublished material is often difficult. Permission to make any published use of any material from the collection must be sought in writing from the Keeper of Manuscripts and Special Collections

Reprographic copies can be supplied for educational and private study purposes only, depending on access status and the condition of the documents.

Custodial History

The collection was given to the Department of Manuscripts and Special Collections at the University of Nottingham by Dr R. Bradshaw of the Geography Department, in January 1995.

Related Material

The National Archives: Transcripts, Documents, Proofs of Evidence and other papers of the Vale of Belvoir Public Inquiry (Reference HLG 89/1273-1352)

University of Nottingham, Manuscripts and Special Collections: 'Environment: the Truth', by Dr Neville Mowbray Potter, referring to the Belvoir enquiry (Ref: MS 750)

Bibliography

Michael Mann, S.W. Midwinter and R.K. Taylor, 'The Vale of Belvoir coalfield inquiry (the North East Leicestershire prospect) : report' (London : HMSO, 1981) P. Hills, H. McClintock, D.R. Cope, K. and Williams, 'The planning system and major industrial developments : Responses to the Belvoir coalfield proposals' (London : Social Science Research Council, 1980) Leicestershire County Council, 'North East Leicestershire Coalfield, Vale of Belvoir : The case against coal mining in this valuable and attractive agricultural area' (1980) Leonard & Partners with Owen Luder Partnership, Thyssen (Great Britain) Limited - commissioned by National Coal Board, South Nottinghamshire and South Midlands areas, 'Belvoir prospect' (Croydon : Leonard & Partners ; Llanelli : Thyssen (G.B.), 1977)