On Friday I met with the Building Schools for the Future project director, an engineer from the contractors, Carillion, and Councillor Clive Robson to be be briefed in relation to my concerns about particular aspects of the Belle Vue planning application which I have already aired – particularly the question of whether the land was formerly used as a landfill refuse site, and the “anomaly the cause of which cannot be identified” which has been identified under the surface of the Consett AFC pitch itself.
I have, quite rightly, been challenged to provide further evidence that the site was used as a landfill site up to and into the nineteen fifties. It is clear that the county council does not believe this to be the case as it has found no records of that. I am seeking that further evidence (beyond an eye-witness account I have already seen from a former employee of Consett Urban District Council), and would appreciate any reader who can cast direct light on the question. Any eye-witnesses who were adults at the time are by definition in their seventies or older, but I would welcome any contact with such eye-witnesses, records, pictures etc.
For my part, I have challenged the county council very strongly to investigate the “anomaly” in the geo-physical structure of the land beneath the football pitch. That seems to be the obvious response to any potential problem “the cause of which cannot be identified”. It would be my response, and I have made very clear that I am not prepared to accept assurances that “it will be all right on the night”.
Because of the commercial sensitivity of some of the information provided I am not able to go beyond this report at present but I will continue to scrutinise what is presented. I accept that modern building methods can solve most problems – at a price. That is and was also true of other sites. But it can only solve problems that it knows about, and it’s the job of us all to make sure those problems are made clear.