‘If we did this, we would be evicted’

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MORE angry residents have spoken out about the state of the ‘abandoned’ area of land behind their homes in Amble, claiming it ‘wouldn’t happen in Alnwick or Morpeth’.

Members of the North Street and North View Residents’ Association talked about the issues on the Braid with litter, mess and youths gathering in the evenings following last week’s Gazette article in which another resident described the area as a ‘big slum’.

The land belongs to Northumberland Estates and in March Tesco was given planning permission to build an ‘ecostore’ creating 150 full and part-time jobs in the town.

Les Goodfellow, chairman of the residents’ association, said: “Since Northumberland Estates took over, the place has been in constant decline and we, the residents, have just been left to get on in the conditions you can see here.

“They have been given permission to knock it down but they have a year and they have not given any dates.

“If I was a parent of a young child in Amble, I would be very concerned about them coming down here in the evenings.”

He also said that last November the heavy snow caused a water pipe outside one of the buildings to burst and flood the area behind their houses, and somebody had broken into the building to steal gas pipes which led to a leak that had to be reported.

Mr Goodfellow added: “Surely an area of this size should be checked regularly and policed by the people that own it?”

The residents’ association claim that Northumberland Estates have been aware of the problems since last year after they contacted Northumberland County Council but a spokeswoman for the Estates did not want to comment further, referring to planning director Colin Barnes’s response last week.

He said: “The Estates was only notified about the problems on at the site on Tuesday (May 3).

“We are now arranging to go and look at the buildings and see how we can make them more secure. Any demolition work would be up to Tesco.”

Since last week, one of the buildings used by the youths was boarded up to prevent them from entering.

But another member of the residents’ association, Barbara Coates, said: “They have abandoned it, they have absolutely abandoned it.

“This would never happen in Alnwick or Morpeth. It would not be allowed to happen in the town centre of Alnwick or Morpeth.”

One of the residents, Agnes McGhie, is trying to sell her home and said that the state of the area is a huge hindrance when she has viewings.

“That’s the feedback every time; love the house but cannot live with this around,” she said.

“When I first moved here, it was the quietest little street, it was lovely.

“If we were council tenants and we kept our properties in this state, they would be all over us. We would be evicted.”