ENVIRONMENTAL health experts have lodged an objection to a £7.2m housing scheme in Tynedale.

Housing development company Maple Oak aims to transform the former Bellingham Auction Mart, which has been vacant since 2002, with 60 new homes on the site.

Investigative reports submitted as part of the application identified one area in the east of the site which is contaminated with a large range of Poly-aromatic hydrocarbons including Naphthalene.

Alex Wall, Environmental Health Officer at Northumberland County Council, said if un-remediated, this presents a risk to future residents from vapour intrusion.

In its objection, the Environmental Protection Team said no interpretation had been provided within the investigative reports, contrary to standard practice, of why the area had been identified.

"Therefore this raises the concern that other such areas which are unsuitable for housing development may exist on the site but have been thus far unidentified," they said.

They have also requested that a written justification for the location of the sampling locations be submitted to the county council, and that the Coal Authority Mining Report quoted in one of the investigative reports also be submitted to verify these findings.

Their objection stance may be removed through the submission of further evidence to the county council.

Northumberland County Council's Lead Local Flood Authority team has also objected to the proposed development, on flood risk and drainage grounds.

The scheme will include a mix of two and three bedroomed houses, two bedrooms bungalows, and one and two bedroomed apartments.

There would be a mix of affordable rented homes (61 per cent), Rent to Buy/Shared Ownership units (12 per cent) and Supported Housing (27 per cent).

Maple Oak Living said 130 jobs will be created during the construction phase of the scheme if planning consent is granted.

Planning consultants Lichfields have been contacted for comment.

To view the planning application, visit the county council’s planning portal and search reference number 21/03415/FUL.