Down at Denaby Main people are doing it for themselves. For five years the former museum of the millennium ‘The Earth Centre’ has kept its doors firmly closed to the public. A growing number of people have begun to ask why this multimillion pound project has been abandoned. They think it should be reclaimed as an autonomous community space, gardens and eco village.
The earth centre was dreamed up by former Greenpeace Director Jonathan Smales. It was built on derelict land left over from coal pits in Denaby Main, Doncaster. It opened in 1994, initial projects were run by community and locals received apprentice training. The Earth Centre established itself as a sustainable aquaculture centre and a community farm.
In 1995 the Millennium Commission made a massive award (50 million) to Earth Centre, which became one of its ‘Landmark Millennium projects’. It was redesigned and virtually all existing landscaping and projects were destroyed, which understandably lost the goodwill of the local community who were sadly excluded from the project
The designers of the earth centre went on to have a hideous party with public funds that saw a small number of already very rich people paid a lot of money to create an educational space that was then allowed to fall into administration. The Millennium Commission along with the designers and the politicians washed their dirty hands of it and it fell begrudgingly into the incompetent hands of Doncaster Council. It’s fair to say they pulled a fast one on an already kicked community, the earth centre during the time it was open was used by many locals and schools and also provided a significant number of jobs.
Now derelict for 5 years the council leases the space to a very exclusive war-game company that run about on the children’s play areas shooting each other and throwing smoke screens about. Not to mention the police and MOD use the space for training. None of these activities benefit the community or the landscape.
Recently locals have been thrown off by armed police as they tried to harvest fruit that is growing there in abundance. Requests from local volunteers to harvest the fruit and medicinal plants at the earth centre to were met with weeks of lies and deaf ears from the council so the volunteers decided enough was enough and they took direct apple action!
Doncaster Council took the Earth Centre on under the agreement that they maintain it for educational purposes so clearly something is amiss. DMBC now plan to sell the site which they view as a national embarrassment, they can’t see beyond their bank balances.
The people are not going to let them. We see that the land belongs to all of us and that we have a right to maintain it and use its resources to live a sustainable lifestyle. We aim to reopen its buildings to the community groups and schools that can then benefit from what was once a valuable community resource. With the spirit of the miners that struggled deep in the pits we will not leave this alone and we invite all to show solidarity in this time of political treason and depleting landscape.
Together we are facing serious consequences of climate change, our earth is suffering and the people in government are blindly leading us on the path of destruction. Capitalism and war are the biggest contributors to pollution and human heartache. Is it all really worth it just to please the greedy few? Surely not! If you hadn’t noticed our liberties are quickly being taken away, but don’t despair as its put in Denaby just ‘Do It Thee sen’! We must take action, unite and reclaim your land and freedom.
Why not come to the Earth Centre there is a train stop (Conisbrough) right at the entrance. Cross the bridge a public right of way, explore the neighbouring forest, disused tunnels and old viaduct, follow the trail to the pennine way and climb the hill for an amazing view of this special place, historic landscape and beautiful wilderness
We meet up every Sunday at 1pm by the welcome point to do the same so your more than welcome to join our party or why not start your own wherever you are! power to the people! be the change you want to see…..
Written by Molly Mosschops