UP TO 900 jobs are on their way to Selby district after the Government approved plans for a new business park at a disused mine site.

Hazel Blears, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, yesterday backed the recommendation of planning inspector Andrew Phillipson to allow UK Coal to reuse workshops, stores, a covered stockyard and an amenity block at Gascoigne Wood, near Sherburn-in-Elmet.

Gascoigne Wood was the hub where coal mined from the Selby complex was washed and shipped to nearby Drax and Eggborough power plants.

The complex, which incorporates a rail-head, was opened in 1983, but owners UK Coal closed it after only 20 years, due to difficulty mining the 250 million tonnes estimated to lie underground.

Selby District Council planners approved the application to redevelop the former mine as a business park in March 2006.

But local landowner Sam Smith's Brewery objected to the decision, leading to it being "called in" by the Secretary of State.

Jon Lloyd, chief executive of UK Coal, said: "We very much welcome this decision and the recognition of the importance of maintaining an established rail-connected site.

"We are very confident that we will attract occupiers who will take maximum benefit of the superb rail connections."

Ms Blears said she agreed with Mr Phillipson that "rail linked sites of the quality that Gascoigne Wood offers are rare, and the Gascoigne Wood site has the significant potential to support rail linked manufacture and/or distribution".

Selby MP John Grogan welcomed the decision. He said: "I've always supported development on the site."