“It’s newt fair” say residents

Allan Tudhope and other business owners at Middleton retirement village are up in arms because of roadworks stopping customers getting to the village.
Allan Tudhope and other business owners at Middleton retirement village are up in arms because of roadworks stopping customers getting to the village.

Residents and business owners in a village community say they have been left high and dry while newts, frogs and toads have been relocated because of roadworks.

The amphibians including 367 great crested newts, 440 smooth newts, 376 toads and 144 frogs have been moved from Middleton Wood as preparations are made to lay underground cable from Heysham for a wind farm in the east Irish sea.

But residents and business owners in Middleton say their lives are being made a misery with numerous sets of roadworks on Borrans Lane and Carr Lane.

Allan Tudhope, owner of the Watersedge cafe at Middleton Retirement Village, said: “People are absolutely steaming mad about it.

“It’s the fact that people have stopped using the lanes.

“Senior citizens look like they have been off-roading because their cars are covered in mud from the lanes.

“Sometimes it takes people 40 minutes to get here and its perceived that everything is closed.”

In January, Allan had to lay five members of staff off and is now struggling to keep his business afloat because the roadworks are affecting his trade.

He said: “It’s been a long hard time and I’ve been left out in the boon docks.

“The people that live on the lane are up in arms.

“A year ago this was a thriving business and now it is decimated.

“It has left me dead in the water, I’m not making any money and I’m working for nothing.

“The roadworks have flattened my business. It’s pure determination that is making me stay here.

“I’ve given myself until the end of July because I’m getting further and further into debt.”

A horse had to be given hundreds of pounds worth of veterinary treatment after it was spooked by a digger on Carr Lane, said the owner’s husband.

Steve Ogden, who owns Oggy’s Cycles on Regent Road in Morecambe, said: “My wife has two horses and one Shetland pony which she keeps on land near Carr Lane.

“One day she was riding out to the beach and checked with the foreman that all the machinery had stopped.

“He waved his hand for her to ride down the lane and one of the digger arms swung into the lane and spooked one of the horses.

“It cost £800 to £900 to get the horse treated because she was so stressed.

“After lots of letters between ourselves and Dong Energy they agreed to pay the vets bill.

“Stables near Carr Lane have been flooded numerous times because workmen keep digging into the water main.

“They had to refence one of the fields as they had pulled the hedges down.”

Steve, the UKIP candidate for Morecambe West, will be passing on a letter from Allan Tudhope to Paul Nuttall, the UKIP Member of the European Parliament for the North West of England, raising his concerns.

Sandra Stratton, who lives at Old Trafford Park residential park home site near Borrans Lane, said: “Borrans Lane is an absolute mess with potholes due to the heay machinery using the lane.

“Two old ladies who use the lane to get into town on their mobility scooters are finding it very difficult.

“In a letter from Dong Energy, they said that with a license following strict guidelines from Natural England, they have trapped and relocated great crested newts, smooth newts, toads and frogs from Middleton Wood.

“But we have had to put up with the noise, dust and dirt from the diggers and heavy vehicles.”

A spokesperson for Dong Energy (UK) Ltd, who are constructing the West of Duddon Sands Offshore Wind Farm through a joint venture with Scottish Power Renewables, said: “We have been doing all we can to minimise disruption in and around Middleton village during the course of the cable installation works for the West of Duddon Sands Offshore Wind Farm.

“Whilst we recognise that there has been some disruption to residents and businesses, the team on site in Middleton have been working closely with the community to ensure that businesses can remain open as normal.

“We are going the extra mile to ensure that we minimise the disruption as much as possible.

“We keep the interests of local businesses and residents at the front of our minds.”

Overton Ward Councillor Keith Sowden said: “They always treat the newts better than us.

“We are paying three times as much for electricity from the wind turbines as we are from old fashioned ways of production. Nuclear energy keeps going all the time but we are paying people £100,000 to not produce electricity when its windy.”

Allan Tudhope has a petition for customers to sign which already has 48 signatures supporting his bid for compensation.

Email him at watersedgecafe@hotmail.co.uk to offer support.