ANGRY residents have told of their disgust over a disused railway line left to fall into disrepair over the last five years.
The former Bates Colliery branch line from the pit to the staithes at Blyth has become an eyesore because of fly-tipping and flooding since it closed in 2007.
The railway cutting is now flooded with dirty water and littered with syringes, beer cans and plastic bags.
Wheelie bins, shopping trollies, a mattress and a bath tub have also been dumped there.
Neighbours of the track are now calling on UK Coal, its owner, to take action.
Alan Fryer, secretary of the Cowpen Farm and Isabella Residents’ Association, says that the smell coming from the line on hot days is unbearable and rats are now appearing in nearby gardens.
“It’s got to be an environmental health hazard,” said the 49-year-old, of nearby Ingram Drive.
“There is old mine water coming down from the pit. That is why there is a brown colour.
“Residents who live beside the rail line have been suffering. They are complaining of a foul smell on hot days, rodents and the unsightly blight the line has become on our area.”
UK Coal was granted planning permission last September by Northumberland County Council to build 34 houses and infill the railway cutting on land next to Malvins Road.
Residents dismayed by the eyesore it has become are now asking the firm to clean up the undeveloped part of the line and turn it into a footpath as part of the scheme.
A spokesman for UK Coal said: “Plans to develop the former Bates Colliery site are progressing.
“We are aware that part of the site has been used for fly-tipping and anti-social behaviour and are working closely with the local authorities to try and prevent this happening.
“Work is also under way to remove the rubbish and clean up the area, and we welcome any help that local residents can provide in helping us to tackle this situation.”