RESIDENTS across Scarborough have given a cautious welcome to a huge potash find outside the town.
York Potash chiefs have revealed Scarborough is sitting on billions of pounds worth of plant fertiliser which could be mined.
Bosses said the move could create 5,000 jobs and would be the country’s first potash mine for 40 years after analysing preliminary drilling results from a site near Robin Hood’s Bay.
Graham Meads, 61, from Hunmanby, said there was reason to be cautious about the effects of the work, but added the broader spectrum of increased employment and economic boost was an opportunity which needed to be grasped.
Mr Meads, a teacher, said: “Nowadays there is not as much to fear about the land because the companies behind the work leave the area in a good condition.
“There is the added attraction of jobs because everywhere, including this area, needs them.
“There are not a lot available at the moment and the idea of creating new posts outweighs the worries over drilling in the National Park.
“I don’t think we can afford to turn it down and as long as the plans are acceptable for the landscaping of the area, then it should be allowed to go on. We cannot just survive on beauty alone.”
However, Mr Meads’ wife Jackie, said she was fearful over the lingering effects the work would leave on the National Park.
She said: “It is absolutely stunning in that area and my head says everyone needs a job and money, but my heart says we should not spoil the scenery.
“This area gets a lot of tourist money and there must be employment for people, but does it have to be in an area of such beauty?”
Ronnie Shakespeare, a 73-year-old former miner from Crossgates, said: “I don’t think they should be drilling in the National Park. It should be left alone just like green belt sites are. It sounds really good that they have found it there but even so, to drill down there would cause some upset.”
Rita Raine, a 66-year-old former care home worker from the Old Town said: “I’ve got mixed feelings, it might create jobs and help the economy but I think they should probably leave the area as it is and not interfere with the nature.”
Coring work by York Potash revealed four times the estimated amount of potash lying more than 1,500 metres below the surface.
Chris Fraser, managing director of Sirius Minerals, a parent company of York Potash, said: “Although preliminary, there are fantastic results that are a validation of the world-class of the project.
“The first hole we have drilled has delivered one of the world’s single thickest potash intersections ever reported.”
The mineral cores unearthed are currently being analysed by the British Geological Survey and York Potash hopes to finish test drilling by the end of the year.
The company hopes to submit its first planning application for the mine next year.