Piles of scrap raise fears of fire risk

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FEARS have been voiced about a fire risk at an Alnwick property which is being used as a base for a scrap merchant’s business.

At the last meeting of Alnwick Town Council, a letter was received from a resident in Green Batt raising concerns about business taking place at a property in the street without a proper licence.

The letter said that an enforcement notice was in place preventing the operation of business at the Hoppers’ scrapyard, but that was being flouted.

It was reported that there were numerous vehicles outside the house and car repairs are being carried out, among other activities.

Deputy Mayor, Coun Geoff Watson, said: “The enforcement notice was put in place because there were complaints received from the youth hostel and from neighbouring properties.

“It is supposed to prevent the conduct of a business from that premises, which is residential.

“We have got photographs which show gas canisters, piles of tyres and loads of wood in the back yard.

“If it caught fire it would be a disaster for the town.”

But Coun Martin Harrington said that it was his understanding that the site had always been used as a scrap merchant.

“I have lived in Alnwick all my life and I’m sure he has always operated there,” he said.

“How can you enforce something that’s always been there?”

But Coun Jim Thompson said that was not the case.

He said: “I remember when it was just a residence and certainly wasn’t a business on the scale it is now.”

Coun Ken Moore raised concerns about the fire risk, but Coun Watson said that Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service had already been in discussions with Northumberland County Council about the site.

Mayor Alan Symmonds said the council would pursue the matter with County Hall.

A spokeswoman for the county council said: “An enforcement notice has been served to require the resident to stop running a business from the property.

“We are continuing to monitor the situation.”