RESIDENTS of a quiet cul-de-sac in Devon have been left outraged after a high-rise apartment block was built yards from their homes.
People living in Sandford Walk, Exeter, say they have not been able to sit in their own gardens all summer because of building work and claim the new development will impact their quality of life.
Exeter City Council gave the building the go-ahead in 2020 and building work has been ongoing since February 2021.
This was despite a whopping 130 objections to the application and an online petition against it which said that residents’ light levels and privacy will be “significantly affected”.
The project was meant to be finished this year, but is behind schedule.
Locals say they have not been told when the work will end and that their quality of life has been shattered by dust and noise since it began.
Jackie, 74, who has lived in the road for over 20 years, told Devon Live that she is considering moving but cannot find a home that she can afford near the city centre.
She said: “It’s upsetting because I have lived here for so many years. I like sitting out in my garden but I have not been able to at all this summer. When people are living there I will feel overlooked.
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“I love living here. We have a pedestrianised area out front and the neighbours are so nice. I’m not saying who will be living in the new housing won’t be nice, but it’s just so many people.”
Jackie adds that her options are limited because she cannot afford a mortgage anymore and so is stuck where she is.
Her neighbour Matt Lockyear, who has lived in the road with his partner for 10 years, said: “It’s mostly older people who live in this street so they are home a lot and I know there is also someone who works from home. Construction work has now been going on for over 12 months and you’ve got to complain all the time.
“You can put up with the noise but it’s things like even though this is a pedestrianised zone, they have been driving diggers up here. They’re like a bunch of kids in that you make a complaint to stop them doing it and they will, and then a week later they start again.”
He said that it was a “joke” that councillors had let the project go ahead at all.
The couple have apparently been unable to use their garden in months due to the noise.
Other objections to the project have included claims that the building will be too large, that it will harm the quality of life of existing residents and that it will not offer new residents quality housing.
Developer Watkins Jones PLC confirmed that building work is expected to last for another three months.
A spokesperson for the company said: “We know that creating the new homes people need can impact people who already live in the area, and we share our neighbours’ frustration that work has overrun, but we are doing everything we can to reduce disruption.”
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They added that they had made investments into quieter drilling rigs and generators to reduce noise pollution and that the first residents are set to arrive in the new year.
According to the developer, the block is set to attract local health workers, such as nurses and junior doctors, as a “significant proportion” of prospective residents.