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Last Updated: Tuesday, 4 July 2006, 16:29 GMT 17:29 UK
Sculpture and pit plans scrapped
The Northumberlandia sculpture
The planned land sculpture would have been 1,500ft long
Plans for an opencast mine with a giant sculpture of a naked woman as its centrepiece have been turned down.

The Banks Group, which is based in Durham, wanted to mine three million tonnes of coal from the site on Blagdon Estate near Cramlington.

But the plan has now been scrapped after Northumberland County Council refused planning permission.

It said the move would be "detrimental" to Cramlington. A spokesman for Banks said 200 jobs would be lost.

Many residents in Blyth and Cramlington were against the proposals because of the impact of pollution and lorries on the environment.

A spokesman for Northumberland County Council said: "The planning committee concluded that the proposal would be contrary to the planning policies for this part of Northumberland and would not meet green belt objectives."

Loss of jobs

Rob Williams, project manager at Banks, said that noise and air quality would have been "controlled."

He said: "We are surprised that the planning committee has chosen to steer away from the existing priority of their minerals local plan and that it feels unable to support coal for local industry.

"Our existing two sites in Northumberland, which currently supply Alcan, will finish in 2007.

"The company currently has no other surface mining sites in the north east, which will unfortunately mean the loss of many jobs."

The firm had planned to call the landscape sculpture Northumberlandia.

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