Gas levels force Persimmon to halt Gala homes

Melrose Gait development by Persimmon Homes
Melrose Gait development by Persimmon Homes

Elevated levels of methane gas and carbon dioxide have forced a temporary halt to construction of new houses on a site at Galashiels.

Persimmon Homes is building almost 400 new homes on farmland at Easter Langlee in a development christened Melrose Gait.

But this week, Scottish Borders Council confirmed to The Southern that a number of what it termed ‘suspensive planning conditions’ have been imposed on phase two of the development at Easter Langlee.

One of these relates to contaminated land and requires investigation by the developer and appropriate mitigation where required.

In a statement, SBC said the developer had informed the local authority earlier this year about the elevated levels of methane and carbon dioxide gas around the northern boundary of phase two of the site.

The council’s environmental health officers subsequently issued a response to this report, setting out their advice, and SBC recently received a report from Persimmon Homes setting out its proposed mitigation plans to deal with the elevated gas levels. These proposals are being examined by the relevant officers in the council and will be responded to in due course.

And SBC told us: “The council has asked the developer to stop work on phase two of the site until a time when all suspensive planning conditions relating to the site are satisfied.”

A suspensive planning condition regarding contaminated land is commonplace where there is potential for any type of contamination on an application site.

The development at Easter Langlee is located close to the council’s controversial large waste landfill site which has been the subject of complaints about bad odours in the past.

Richard Cole is one of Persimmon’s customers for a new home at Melrose Gait, but told The Southern this week he feared his new home might have to now be demolished because of the seeping gases he believes emanate from the landfill site.

“I was informed that my home, a plot that has been built, would potentially have to be demolished as it is built on gas,” he told us.“I am so aggrieved that this has been allowed to happen by Persimmon.”

However, SBC confirmed that no exisiting buildings will need to be removed at this time and Jim Kirkpatrick, managing director at Persimmon Homes East Scotland, says the company is taking remedial action.

“We have been asked to provide another report which identifies the areas affected and details any mitigation work proposed to deal with this issue,” explained Mr Kilpatrick.

“This new report, which was prepared by our independent environmental consultant, was submitted to the council recently. We believe it confirms that a handful of properties along the northern boundary of the development will require a standard gas membrane.

“However, the vast majority of units, including those under construction in phase two, will be unaffected.

“We have agreed with the council to suspend construction work on the area in question until they are fully satisfied with a new report which allows them to sign off our suspensive planning conditions.”

CAPTION: Persimmon Homes is building almost 400 homes at Easter Langlee in Galashiels