UK Coal showed the extent of its aspirations to exploit its big land holdings by announcing a joint venture with Helical Bar to develop an office campus for government civil servants at a former mine in Yorkshire. Financial Times, The Times

The 300-hectare site at Waverley and Orgreave is the largest in UK Coal’s 47,500-acre land and property portfolio and was notorious during the 1984-85 miners’ strike for clashes at Orgreave Coking Works between striking pitmen and police.

The two companies plan £140m of development over five years at the site, near the M1 motorway between Rotherham and Sheffield. The site could employ about 6,000 people after it is fully developed by UK Coal, which also plans 4,000 homes and a business park.

The plan will test the Government’s commitment to moving civil servants out of Whitehall.

Three government reports - the Lyons report, the Gershon report and the Varney report – have made calls for fundamental changes to the location of government departments.

Construction on the project, which is part of a much larger development by UK Coal, is planned to begin in spring 2009. However, the work will not start without pre-lets.