Noise from generator at housing site sparks furore

Coun Alison Byard and Stobhill residents Pauline Rogerson and Nora Gore, with Choppington Road in the background. Picture by Jane Coltman.
Coun Alison Byard and Stobhill residents Pauline Rogerson and Nora Gore, with Choppington Road in the background. Picture by Jane Coltman.

Noise coming from a new housing scheme in an area of Morpeth kept nearby residents awake at night, it has been claimed.

People living in Choppington Road say their health has been affected over the last couple of months since Barratt Homes North East installed a generator as a temporary measure to supply electricity for the first group of new residents at its South Fields development between Stobhill and Hepscott.

The company carried out work to insulate the equipment on the advice of Northumberland County Council’s environmental health officers and it says a power supply connection to the grid was made yesterday afternoon, which resulted in the removal of the generator.

But those in Choppington Road say the issue remained despite Barratt’s insulation efforts and the period of almost 10 weeks was ‘unacceptable’.

One of the residents, Pauline Rogerson, said: “This happened without warning, so when we first heard the loud rumbling sound from the generator, we were wondering if our boilers were about to burst.

“It has caused a lot of grief and we haven’t been able to get a decent sleep. It has impacted my health and it has made things even worse for other people in the street with serious health issues.

“We’re told that no-one in the new homes has complained, but we think these properties have greater insulation than ours.”

After the issue was raised with the council, environmental health officers took a noise measurement from the home of Nora Gore.

She said: “We knew the figure would not break the statutory nuisance level, but it was enough for the council to ask Barratt to take measures to insulate the generator.

“It seemed to work for two or three days, but the noise became a nuisance again, particularly on still nights and over the Christmas period when there weren’t as many cars on the road.

“We’ve asked Barratt why it couldn’t have waited until the power supply was sorted before allowing people to move into the new homes. For it to go on nearly 10 weeks was unacceptable.”

Morpeth town councillor Alison Byard liaised with the county council and the company after the problem was raised with her and she warned that residents in other parts of the town may face similar issues during the construction period for new housing schemes.

A Barratt Homes spokesman said: “Due to circumstances beyond our control, there was a delay with the cable transfers to the main grid.

“We ensured the issue was resolved and connection to the grid was imminent before any homeowners moved in.

“Utilising a generator to run the substation was a short-term temporary measure to allow new residents to move into the properties before Christmas.

“We have worked closely with the network providers to push the works through to provide the connection within the statutory timescales and the generator has now been removed, with the development connected to the grid.”

County councillor for Stobhill, Ian Lindley, said although he could not hear any generator noise at his address in Turner Square, residents with any issues relating to the housing site can contact him and he will speak to the relevant people at the county council to see if they can do anything to help resolve the problem.