Do you think this historic pit wheel should have been moved?

A village leader has hit back at criticism after a decision was made to relocate a pit wheel which became a magnet for vandals.

Monday, 25th April 2016, 3:24 pm
Updated Monday, 25th April 2016, 4:48 pm
Thomas Pinkney Chairman of Murton Parish Council (right) with Marion Oliver (left) Chairman of Dalton Le Dale Parish Council and invited local church members at the Murton Mine Pit Wheel. Picture by FRANK REID

The monument had stood at the top of The Avenue, in Murton, but had fallen into a state of disrepair and became a target.

It had been installed by the Miners’ Federation, which no longer exists, and hidden away, leading Murton Parish Council to come up with a plan to relocate it into the grounds of the Glebe Centre at a cost of £29,000.

The Murton Mine Pit Wheel. Picture by FRANK REID

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But councillors have come under fire after a small rededication ceremony was held to mark the move, rather than one which was open to all.

Comments have been left on the Memories of Murton Facebook page - a closed group - expressing disappointment the event was not advertised in advance.

The organisers say there was not enough capacity in the grounds to handle a large crowd.

Council chairman Tom Pinkney said: “This was because of health and safety reasons because it was held on the pavement and there would not have been room.

The Murton Mine Pit Wheel. Picture by FRANK REID

“When we carried out public consultation about this, no one came forward, so it would appear no one was interested in it. We couldn’t do nothing about it because it was in a bad state of repair.

“The ceremony was brilliant, absolutely amazing, and everybody can come now and see it.”

The cost of the move was met through council funds, fundraising and donations, including £500 from Dalton Park.

The unveiling was attended by ex-miners from the village pit, four councillors, children from St Joseph’s and The Ribbon primaries, a representative of Dalton-le-Dale Parish Council and members of Churches Together.

The spot outside the centre as the land is owned by the parish council.

The wheel was first put on show in 1999, when the village’s colliery closed.

The parish council said Durham County Council, which owned the land where it first stood, did not have the cash to complete the work.