Locals next to housing development say life has been hell by builders

We’re trapped like prisoners in our own homes: Locals next to huge housing development say their life has been hell by loud and sweary builders

  • Residents of Westheath Road in Bodmin say builders came in mid-September
  • They say they are often woken up early with contractors shouting and swearing

A group of neighbours have said they feel imprisoned in their own homes while work has got underway on a housing development nextdoor.

Residents of Westheath Road in Bodmin say a deluge of contractors came in mid-September, more than two years after planning permission was granted for the development off Lostwithiel Road – and they say life has been hell since.

They’ve slammed alleged ‘terrible’ communication from the developer and each day they claim to watch metal barriers for the development ‘move closer’ to their properties making them feel ‘trapped like prisoners.’

The residents, many of whom are retired and some work night shifts, say they are often woken up as early as 7.30am with contractors shouting and swearing and they also say constant drilling has become the new norm.

But the developer responsible has defended itself saying it met with all neighbouring residents in person to discuss concerns and that it remains readily available to listen and respond to further enquiries. 

A group of neighbours have said they feel imprisoned in their own homes while work has got underway on a housing development nextdoor (Pictured left to right: Judy Stevens, Hilda Blacklaw, Beatrice and her daughter Sarah Alcock)

Residents say a deluge of contractors came in mid-September, more than two years after planning permission was granted for the development off Lostwithiel Road

Judy Stevens, 72, who lives with husband Barry, 73, says the development marks a ‘total intrusiveness of everyone’s lives’. 

She said: ‘It’s mostly the noise and the privacy, and we’ve had to buy screening to put up to protect ourselves.

‘The other morning there was a digger right there and I was in my nightie. It’s really not pleasant and they’ve been shouting and swearing. It’s having a huge impact on the traffic and all I can hear is noise and all I can smell is fumes.’

READ MORE: We live next to a £100million ‘ghost’ housing estate – we haven’t seen any activity on the sites for months 

The retired nurse said she felt the development plans ‘all went quiet’ and then came out of nowhere when builders showed up last month. 

Some residents weren’t even aware the reserved matters application had gone in and been approved back in 2021, three years after an outline planning application.

Judy said. ‘It’s truly awful. We’ve worked hard our entire lives and now we’re retired so we’re here most of the time and we’ve just got no life at all. I think we’ve paid our dues.’ 

The site offices are due to be built right outside of her dining room window and she’s expecting things to only get worse as the development progresses.

Hilda Blacklaw is in her 70s and has lived on the road for 40 years. She said she can no longer sit outside or invite anyone around. 

She said: ‘We’re not trying to be nimbies. We just have to put up with big machinery and groundworks until the end of the year and then what, another year of bleep bleep bleep which is even more irritating.

‘If I want to do anything in the garden now I have to wait until the weekend and hope the weather is nice so I’m not spending much time gardening, which we’re all meant to be doing for our mental health. It’s horrible.’

An outline planning application was submitted in 2018 to Cornwall Council for the development with the reserved matters application being put in in 2021 and approved within the required time period.

Meanwhile, it has emerged that residents who are also living next to a £100million housing development in Clipstone (pictured), near Mansfield, say they are experiencing the complete opposite situation, with little to no building works going on at all 

The development is for 45 homes ranging from flats to four-bedroom houses. Ten will be affordable rentals, four shared ownership properties and 31 open market homes.

Debbie Connell, 62, owns a bungalow overlooking the new development which she inherited after her parents passed away. 

She said: ‘It would have broke my parents hearts to see this. We had decking put in specially because they would sit out here and watch the world but there’s absolutely no privacy now.

READ MORE: Inside Britain’s eerie ‘ghost’ housing estates: From seafront apartments to NHS homes and ‘warzones’ – how locals are condemned to live beside land abandoned by developers… and taken over by drug-abusers, fly-tippers and vandals

‘We’re stuck in limbo and at the mercy of these people. I was thinking about listing it on Airbnb for people to stay but we can’t now given the noise, we just can’t.’

Beatrice, 85, is perhaps the worst impacted by the development right now. She’s housebound unless somebody else is able to take her out so there is no escape from the noise.

Beatrice’s daughter Sarah Alcock, 55, said: ‘It’s not nice for anyone. But at least people can go away whereas mum is here all the time and when they were ready to start they did come knocking but mum was at a hospital appointment so had no idea.

‘They say nobody has a right to a view which is fair enough but this is about privacy and it is right in your backyard. We all have a right to enjoy what is ours, but she can’t.’

Beatrice said the metal barriers marking between her property and the development ‘keep moving back’ too. 

Judy said: ‘I’m not silly. I’m here all the time and they keep moving it back and I can see it. We can’t sell and we can’t move. We’re trapped like prisoners.’

A spokesperson for Countryside Partnerships, a Vistry Group company, said: ‘We have met with neighbouring residents in person to discuss any concerns they may have regarding working hours whilst also responding to queries from the local ward councillor. We remain readily available to listen and respond to any further queries.

‘We are also in daily correspondence with our contractor carrying out these works to make sure that any disruption caused by construction is kept to a minimum. 

‘If it is found that work is commencing before the times agreed with the Council, we shall be reminding them of this requirement.’

Meanwhile, it has emerged that residents who are also living next to a £100million housing development in Clipstone, near Mansfield, say they are experiencing the complete opposite situation, with little to no building works going on at all. 

They have said they have not seen activity on the site for months – after it emerged the contractor had collapsed into adminstration 

They have said they have not seen activity on the site for months – after it emerged the contractor had collapsed into adminstration.

The future of 313 homes off Clipstone Road East in the village of Clipstone, near Mansfield hang in the balance after Sherwood Oaks Homes went bust.

Locals living opposite the eyesore claimed they were unaware that Sherwood Oaks Homes had even collapsed.

Gary Duerden, who has lived in Clipstone Road East for around 10 years, said: ‘About five or six weeks ago I did see cabins being moved off the site. It’s a shame because I know that some people had issues with it, but I’ve got no problems with new housing because we do need it.

‘The only issue I did have is that with new housing you need new amenities. If you lived in Arnold or Beeston there would have been something built with the development, but there’s no investment around here.’

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