Road to ruin in estate dispute

A BITTER dispute with housing developers has taken another turn with complaints about the state of an access road.

Residents in The Kylins were dismayed when Persimmon Homes, on behalf of Charles Church North East, submitted an application to modify previously-agreed and carefully-negotiated housing plans for the area.

And there was outrage when the developer successfully appealed a Northumberland County Council decision to reject the changes.

Now residents in neighbouring Southfield say relations have become even more strained due to the state of the road to their homes from use by construction traffic.

Resident Gavin Bayne said: “We have had problems from the very start.

“They promised us that the road to our three properties from The Kylins would be well maintained, but from day one they have not adhered to that.

“They need to do something about this road because it is dangerous.

“I have three cars, next door has one and the guy at the bottom has two or three and they are all filthy, inside and out, all of the time. Somebody is going to get a puncture on the road and when the bad weather comes we are not going to be able to get our vehicles out.

“It isn’t even a proper surface any more, we are driving over rough stones.

“I’m writing a letter to Persimmon, but I’m not hopeful that anything will happen.”

He added: “Our relationship with the developer has really soured, it is just so disappointing.

“We are unsettled here now and we would never have thought it would be like that. We thought we would have wanted to stay here for the rest of our lives.”

County councillor Andrew Tebbutt, who lives in the area, said he is well aware of the problem.

“It is like the development from hell because everything about it is extremely annoying and frustrating and causes a great deal of distress to existing residents,” he said.

“I think it is extremely disappointing that Persimmon or Charles Church take so little note of the needs of the residents around this estate.

“It is quite frankly appalling the way they are treating us. I really don’t understand why the developers are making our lives so miserable.”

Charles Church North East Regional Chairman David Jenkinson said: “We appreciate the residents’ concerns regarding the access road, however this road is an adopted highway and therefore the responsibility of the county council to ensure that it is appropriately maintained.

“While we endeavour to keep the affects of construction work to a minimum, this can sometimes prove difficult owing to the nature of the essential works being carried out.

“We would like to thank the residents for their patience in this matter.”

Residents are still considering their next steps to try to fight the planning inspector’s ruling that the amendments to the housing developments can go ahead.

However, they have been told that taking the matter to judicial review could cost tens of thousands of pounds, with no guarantee of success.