Rothbury roads row continues over Northumberland Estates development

An obstruction on a Rothbury road, which meant an elderly woman was late for her chemotherapy, is just one of a ‘catalogue’ of incidents, frustrated residents say.

Tuesday, 25th June 2019, 16:30 pm
Updated Tuesday, 25th June 2019, 16:34 pm
A Google Maps image showing the site of the development on Hillside Road West in Rothbury.

Northumberland Estates was granted outline permission in 2016 for nine self-build plots on Hillside West and work has been ongoing to prepare the ground and to improve the narrow road, including Gravelly Bank which leads up to the site, leading to blockages caused by lorries.

Ashley Arkle, who is also a Rothbury parish councillor, was moved to complain after two ‘unacceptable’ incidents in two days earlier this month which caused problems for her elderly parents, who are both registered disabled.

The first saw a parked lorry on a narrow section near the Catholic church spark a 20-minute delay as there was no traffic management in place, meaning her mother was late for her hospital appointment.

The following day, a similar incident saw the Tesco delivery van, which is a ‘lifeline to them’, unable to get through to her parents’ house, with the driver fobbed off when he asked for a vehicle to be moved.

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“I don’t want to cause a fuss, but it needs a fuss made about it,” said Mrs Arkle, who is worried about what will happen when different builders and delivery vehicles are heading to each of the individual self-build plots.

In a complaint she sent to the Estates, she added: ‘This is extremely frustrating and disappointing and adds to a catalogue of shoddy work carried out by the Estates and the workers, who claim they are ‘just carrying out orders’ (whose I have no idea!).’

Colin Barnes, head of development and planning at the Northumberland Estates, said: “We are aware that there have been some difficulties with delivery vehicles because the road is quite restricted in that area and can only apologise for any inconvenience caused.

“We, together with the county council, have worked with the contractor to try to minimise such issues. I believe the contractors have apologised for the delay suffered.

“On a positive note, the current works should soon be completed, after which there will be a much improved highway with a new footpath which will, we hope, benefit all residents in the area.”

However, Richard and Julia Wood, who live on Hillside West, say that there have been a whole string of issues with the works that have taken place, including ‘serious traffic hold-ups’.

“We are thoroughly fed up with the whole situation but feel powerless to do anything,” they said.

A Northumberland County Council spokeswoman said: “Our teams are working with the developer with the aim of ensuring that the impact of work on the highway is kept to a minimum.

“The developer did go ahead with one piece of work before permission was issued and this has been raised with them.

“Further work is scheduled to start on July 1 and a traffic management plan has been agreed for this.”