Works disruption is a ‘nightmare’, claim residents

Some of the residents who say their lives have been disrupted by the ongoing works at Victoria Road
Some of the residents who say their lives have been disrupted by the ongoing works at Victoria Road

A group of residents in Hebden Bridge have voiced their anger over the conduct of a construction firm responsible for a new housing development in the town.

McCarthy and Stone are building 32 retirement living apartments on Victoria Road, half of which they have already sold.

But nearby residents are unhappy at the length of time it is taking to finish the project and the impact the building work has had on the area.

They say they have been bombarded by heavy goods vehicles and cement trucks and have been unable to park outside their own homes.

According to local residents, one woman who lives nearby has had to take sleeping pills due to the noise pollution, while another, who is off work with a broken leg, is having to sleep at his parents’ house due to his anxiety over the disruption.

Those affected are now seeking compensation for the inconvenience they have suffered.

The company insists work has been carried out in accordance with planning regulations, within parameters set regarding noise and pollution, and had met with residents to discuss their concerns. It took matters seriously, said a spokesman.

Resident Bernadette Reilly-Jenkins said: “Construction started in November 2013 when the site foreman told us the project would be complete by January 2015.

“However we are still living on a building site and still enduring issues involving parking, noise and air pollution, stress, the conduct of builders and loss of earnings.

“There have been incidents when residents cannot access their own property in their own vehicles as the road is blocked.

“Taxis have not been able to pick up ill people for hospital appointments and elderly people have had to carry shopping from another street.

“How will this street cope with an extra 60 or so people living in these flats?

“The onslaught of noise and air pollution starts at 7am, including Saturday and Sunday and the concrete mixer is fired up at 7.50am.

“In January a McCarthy and Stone employee cut through phone lines, which resulted in the disconnection of a resident’s Sky broadband services.

“As a result of this the resident, who works from home, was unable to work resulting in two days loss of pay.

“The resident has pursued a claim for loss of earnings.

“They have not been paid as yet.”

The residents argue that McCarthy and Stone have failed to ingratiate themselves with people who live in the surrounding area, who said the company have a lack of insight into the problems they have caused.

Mrs Reilly-Jenkins added: “There will be at least 50 new elderly residents moving into the neighbourhood and they will be signing on with our GP practise in Valley Road.

“It is already difficult to get a non urgent appointment, waiting up to three weeks, so this will make matters worse for us.

“Our quality of life has been seriously affected and a week’s holiday away from all the noise and stress would compensate ideally.

“Despite various campaigns we have received no acknowledgement of the distress and inconvenience caused.

“Calderdale Council have denied all our applications for reduced council tax bands and have dismissed our noise complaints.

“Our last ditch attempt is to write back to McCarthy and Stone asking for compensation.”

John Allsop, Senior Contracts Manager at McCarthy and Stone Northern Region, said: “The works at our Leedham Court development are approaching completion within the next month.

“This project has been built in accordance with planning regulations and within the parameters set out by the Environmental Health and the Local Authority regarding noise and pollution levels.

“It is never our intention to disrupt residents in carrying out our works, and we take these matters seriously.

“We have met with residents to discuss concerns, and where accidental disconnection of one resident’s broadband service occurred, McCarthy and Stone have provided reimbursement.

“Health and safety on site is of utmost importance. During construction, secure entrance gates and hoardings surrounded the perimeter to prevent unauthorised access.

“As the development is approaching completion, the permanent boundary fences, walls and railings are now in place in anticipation of first occupations.

“Following an early incident at the development, a 24 hour CCTV monitoring system was installed to act as a deterrent to trespassers and to ensure any attempt made by children to access the site was dealt with appropriately.

“Since work began on the site we have acknowledged that parking was problematic. Additional off site car parking was sourced for construction vehicles, and we’ve been working hard to monitor the on-street parking to ensure all visit ors to the site park appropriately.

“We will continue to investigate the points that have been raised by some of the local residents,” he added.