Residents say they have had '18 months of hell’ over new Metro training centre works in South Shields

Residents living close to the new Metro training centre site in South Shields say they have had ‘18 months of hell’ as building works are set to continue until next spring.

Friday, 27th September 2019, 11:45 am
Updated Saturday, 28th September 2019, 12:32 pm

They say work on the £8.4million training centre between Mile End Road and Salem Street, which began in July 2018, has subjected them to ‘horrific’ noise and vibrations from the site, while gardens have been ‘plagued by rats’ and their house prices are dropping in value.

Plans for the railway skills centre, put forward by Tyne and Wear Metro provider Nexus were given the go ahead last year.

The three-storey facility will deliver a wide range of rail infrastructure and operations training for the 1,000 plus workforce.

Wellington Drive residents (left to right) Bob Hall, Joe Dowson, Sue Grant, Sheila Johnson, Barbara Arthur, Lilian Spence, Phil Johnson and Alice Miller protesting against the close proximity of their homes in Wellington Drive to the Nexus building being built on Mile End Road. Picture by FRANK REID. Picture by FRANK REID

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Building work was due to be completed earlier this year but will now continue until May 2020.

During the summer Nexus obtained permission from South Tyneside Council to work during the night in order to pour in the concrete foundations, however residents say work which they were told would finish around 8pm went on until 1am, 3am and 4am, on three separate occasions.

Nexus have said this was due to bad weather and a delay in the concrete arriving at the site.

Despite the company holding three public consultation sessions, many residents, including Wellington Road resident Sue Grant feel their concerns are not being listened to.

The close proximity of houses in Wellington Drive to the Nexus building being built on Mile End Road. Picture by FRANK REID

“I raised all these issues at the last meeting and was told I was exaggerating,” said the 57-year-old.

“They haven’t bothered to find out who’s behind the doors. They haven’t given the people a thought.”

She continued: “We understand people need jobs, but why put it on a residential area? A lot of the residents here are ill and elderly and can’t leave their houses. This is making their life a misery.

“They’ve had 18 months of hell.”

The close proximity of houses in Wellington Drive to the Nexus building being built on Mile End Road. Picture by FRANK REID

Phil Johnson, who lives on Fawcett Way which backs directly onto the site, said: “I work night shifts and can’t sleep because of the noise during the day. My whole house shakes when the digger goes past and I have been plagued by rats.”

Alice Miller, also of Fawcett Way, added: “The noise is horrific, it’s like living in the shipyards.

“People are opening their blinds in the morning and the workmen are right there.”

There are also concerns over parking and noise from the site once the centre is up and running, with demands for Nexus to take action to alleviate the impact.

The close proximity of houses in Wellington Drive to the Nexus building being built on Mile End Road. Picture by FRANK REID

Sue added: “This is just the beginning, you don’t know the problems that are going to come.

“We would like some form of compensation, whether it be private car parking spaces or treble glazed windows to reduce the noise.”

Nexus have said that only two trains will be stabilised at the centre and staff will be trained in small groups, with 27 parking spaces provided as part of the development.

A Nexus spokesperson said: “From the outset of this project, and from when it was granted planning permission by South Tyneside Council, we have kept local residents fully informed about the scale and scope of the Nexus Learning Centre development at Mile End Road. This has involved three public drop in sessions and door to door letter drops to keep people up to date.

“Since the construction work started we have kept the amount of disruption to the neighbouring properties to an absolute minimum, with site working hours strictly limited. Like any construction site, some of the works do involve noise, but this is being carefully managed and monitored.”

They added: “We fully appreciate that residents have raised their concerns with the scale of the works and we will continue to work hard with our contractors to deal with any issues that arise on the site.

The close proximity of houses in Wellington Drive to the Nexus building being built on Mile End Road. Picture by FRANK REID

“While anyone living by a railway must accept some impact, we are confident that our new Learning Centre will cause very little or no disturbance to our neighbours once building work is complete. We will, of course, respond to any future concerns our neighbours have as staff move in and bring this important new asset for the town centre and local community to life.”

Wellington Drive resident Sue Grant. Picture by FRANK REID
Fawcett Way resident Alice Miller. Picture by FRANK REID
Fawcett Way resident Phil Johnson. Picture by FRANK REID