Wellingborough roadworks 'nightmare' as road moves 12 metres closer to residents' houses

Wellingborough residents say they are feeling like prisoners in their own homes after work on a nearby major housing development started.

Friday, 22nd November 2019, 4:05 pm
Updated Friday, 22nd November 2019, 4:24 pm
The before and after part of the verge and trees were removed adjacent to the A509 Niort Way

Chatsworth Drive residents Jill and Mike Ashwell moved into their house in a secluded part of the cul-de-sac because it was private.

Although the property backed on to Niort Way, the couple were protected from road noise and pollution by a large verge and densely planted tall trees which formed a natural barrier.

Jill said: "It's an absolute nightmare. When we moved here in 1994 we were not overlooked and the road didn't bother us.

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Jill and Mike Ashwell in their conservatory that is now too 'noisy' to use

"Two years ago they took the big trees away - they were 30ft tall and densely planted. Now they have taken the verge.

"We can't sit in the garden or the conservatory now they have taken the trees away - they used to protect us."

Jill, 79, a retired sale assistant, has scarring on her lungs from an infection that hospitalised her for two months and she is concerned about the pollution from the traffic which is now, she

estimates, 12 metres closer to her home.

The verge before in was removed

The couple say they have not received any correspondence regarding the Glenvale Park development - on land north of Niort Way and west of Harrowden Road - but went to see the plans

at Wellingborough Council offices.

They have been watching the road alterations taking place to the Gleneagles Drive - Niort Way junction which is opposite the entrance to the new Glenvale Park site.

She said: "We went down to look at the latest plans at the council. It was impossible to see what they were going to do because there so many lines."

Jill says it's a nightmare living next the works which have been moved closer to their home

Former bank manager Mike, 77, said: "First we were told it [the junction] was going to to be a roundabout at Gleneagles. Then it was going to be traffic lights. Then it was going to be traffic

lights and a slip road but only for occasional traffic.

"It really makes me livid. We had no letters at all. They've not told us anything.

"We can't use the conservatory and the lorries can see straight into our windows.

The new position of the A509 is about 12 metres nearer to their fence

"I think that they have devalued our house by £50,000. If they had told us what was going to happen we might have moved."

The couple have contacted the county council and Wellingborough Council but they say that no-one has addressed the problem.

Jill added: "Nobody wants to take control of this. They're all passing the buck.

"People in planning should have to consider the current residents and the future residents.

"They moved the road about 12 metres closer to our house and removed the screening.

"We want some trees planting and urgently - fast growing trees like laurel.

Works are scheduled to last for 35 weeks

"I'm totally stressed the whole time. We need something doing. You can't just go around ruining people's lives."

Next-door neighbour Catherine Fraser moved from London to Chatsworth Drive 12 years ago because it was 'quiet and peaceful'.

Her home and garden also back on to Niort Way but she and her daughter, Precious, 12, have been unable to use their garden since the trees were cut down.

Since the work on the road widening and groundwork began she says they do not feel safe in their own home.

She said: "It's terrible. The whole house shakes. I thought it was an earthquake, my daughter she was scared.

"It's horrible, there are cracks in the stairs. I saw a big crack in front of my door. I emailed the contractors and they came out in August but I haven't heard from them since.

"I think they should see the structural damage to our properties - it's important for my insurance."

Yesterday morning (November 21), residents received a letter informing them of the overnight closure of Niort Way for road resurfacing works starting on Tuesday, November 26, for five

nights, from 8pm to 6am.

Catherine, 58, added: "It used to be quiet and peaceful and pleasant to live here, now it's boom boom boom every day. It's very scary.

"I am concerned that during the summer months, I will not be able to sit in my own back garden and enjoy the fullness and the comfort of my personal space.

"This has been taken away because of the constant noise, fumes and other health hazardous debris that will affect our health.

"I already have heart problems, in which I had open heart surgery four years ago.

"I am concern that the increase in pollution could cause other complication to my health and that of my daughter."

A spokesman for Wellingborough council said: "594 households in the direct locality of the Glenvale Park development in August 2014 were consulted on regarding the reserved matters

consent reference W/14/00480/REM.

"This scheme included the widening of the A509 Niort Way on the northern and southern sides at the junction with Gleneagles Drive to enable turning lanes and a new access into

Glenvale Park.

"As a result of the widening works trees and under planting has had to be removed from the highway verges on either side of A509 Niort Way.

"Some of the works which have been carried out in the verge on the southern side of Niort Way lies in land outside of the application boundary.

"Developers are able to carry out works to or make alterations to the highway on land owned by the local highway authority without requiring formal planning permission as such works are

authorised through separate s278 highway agreements.

"Northamptonshire County Council highways have authorised the works both within and beyond the original application boundary in the highway verge through a separate S278 agreement

between the developer and the local highway authority.

"In recognition of the trees and shrubs which have been removed on the southern side of Niort Way discussions are taking place between Northants LLP and the local highway authority to

agree the scope of replacement planting.

"The council is aware that the appointed contractor Whitemountain has been in direct communication with residents who live in the locality of the site informing them when works to the

Niort Way being carried out.

"The council’s environmental protection team have been liaising with the contractor to resolve complaints received from residents in relation to unacceptable noise and vibration."

A spokeman for the Highways department of Northamptonshire County Council said: "While the original consent had a boundary and indicative schemes, more recently, the current scheme was part of what is known as a Reserved Matters Application which showed the details and extent of the highway accesses.

"The planning authority approved the Reserved Matters Application which included those details – therefore the works have appropriate planning consent and were subject to public scrutiny at that point.

"Section 278 works can, reasonably include matters outside a planning boundary provided they are within a highway."

Whitemountain was contacted for a statement, which passed on the request to developer Northants LLP which has yet to comment.

One of the cracks that has appeared in Catherine Fraser's house