A PETITION has been launched calling on riverbank subsidence to be repaired.

More than 250 Wylam residents have signed an e-petition to Northumberland County Council to ask for action to be taken on land slippage affecting a small number of village homes on Stephenson Terrace and Wylam Nurseries.

The site is a public right of way running over land owned by Wylam Parish Council but Northumberland County Council is the authority statutorily responsible for it.

Carole Brunskill, who started the petition with her husband, said: “We are trying everything to try and stop the collapse of the riverbank which has been going on for quite a few years now. The garden centre is a thriving, popular business and so I feel something needs to be done asap or this business and home could be in great danger of closing and this would be a great loss to the village.”

In April, owner of Wylam Nurseries Tom Martin expressed his concern to the Courant for the sustainability of his business and the future of his livelihood. He has owned the garden centre and neighbouring bungalow for over 25 years and the site has been home to a nursery for more than 100 years.

Wylam Parish Council is to issue a public statement after its next meeting of the full council on June 14, however, a Northumberland County Council spokesperson said: “We understand this is an important issue for the local community in Wylam and the county council has over the years undertaken various minor works to try and protect public access to the footpath along this popular riverside walk. However, as the erosion of the land has progressed it has been necessary to restrict public access as the footpath became unsafe and impassable.

“We have continued to try and support the parish council, which owns the land that the footpath crosses, and the adjoining landowner, to look at long-term solutions and to quantify the costs of stabilising the land to enable the stretch of footpath to be reinstated. Unfortunately, it is now clear that to progress any remediation works it will first be necessary to undertake comprehensive ground investigations costing tens of thousands of pounds. This would be to inform a long-term engineering solution to be designed and implemented at an additional cost of several hundred thousand pounds.

“The county council is mindful of the impact that the erosion of the land is having on the adjoining business and residential property.”

Guy Opperman MP added: “This has dragged on for too long and it is important the parish council as landowners, or their insurers, meet their legal obligations.”