AN award-winning pub fears it may close if a proposed opencast coalmine is approved by planners.

The Feathers Inn, at Hedley-on-the-Hill, over the County Durham border in Northumberland, has won a clutch of good food awards in recent years.

But owner Richard Cradock said the proposed development at Hoosdclose, near Whittonstall, it would adversely affect his business and could cost him his livelihood.

He said: “The dust, noise, blasting, and visual impact, during the construction and working of the site, will lead to loss of business, could result in closure and the loss of 25 jobs.

“The earth mounds surrounding the site will obliterate the sweeping country views from site, will lead to loss of tranquility and enjoyment of the local countryside.

“An opencast site may ultimately affect the sustainability of the school and communities in Whittonstall and neighbouring villages”

Residents in Ebchester and surrounding parts of the Derwent Valley, in north-west Durham, are concerned over the potential lorry route removing coal from the site, as well as the cumulative effect of two other ongoing opencast development applications south of the county boundary at Marley Hill and near Leadgate.

Coalfield Resources, formerly UK Coal, wants to extract 2.2 million tonnes of coal from the Hoosdclose site for use in coking and power station burning.

The application will be discussed by planners at Northumberland County Council on March 5.