"THIS build has not only caused damage to our homes, but to the area we live in - and to our mental health."

These are the words of residents in a village near Bridgwater who say living next to a building site for most of 2021 has been 'extremely difficult'.

Developers Persimmon Homes started work on 26 homes in Chilton Polden in March this year, after Sedgemoor District Council (SDC) granted permission for the development in October 2019.

The plans were approved despite 52 objections from residents and from both Chilton Polden Parish Council, and the adjoining Edington Parish Council.

READ MORE: Plans to build 26 new homes in Chilton Polden given green light

READ MORE: Work starts on 26 homes in Chilton Polden

Somerset County Gazette: SITE: Before the homes were builtSITE: Before the homes were built

Residents who live directly next to the site of the new homes said there have been multiple issues since the building work started.

In response to the complaints, Persimmon Homes have apologised to the residents, saying the nature of the site has made it 'more challenging to keep disruption to a minimum'.

The main concerns being raised by the residents at the site include:

  • Being blocked in by contractors multiple times a day. They also said large lorries reverse up Chapel Close and Hayne Walk which damages the road and pavements.

Somerset County Gazette: DAMAGE: The roads near the new development

  • Speeding is also a concern, as residents say construction vehicles have been driving too fast up the roads. They asked for speed bumps to be installed, and Persimmon Homes agreed, but these were never put in place.

Somerset County Gazette: STUCK: Lorries trying to get onto the construction site

  • There have also been issues with security around the site. On several occasions alarms have gone off at the site, and residents have called the 24-hour emergency number, but the number was never answered.
  • One household had their boundary fence removed when they came home from work, and a some newly planted hedges were damaged. The residents were told these would be replaced, but this has not happened yet. 
  • There was also no safety netting from scaffolding poles hanging at head height when the work close to the residents was taking place.

Somerset County Gazette: NO FENCE: One resident came home to find their garden led directly to the construction site

  • And there have been issues with mud on roads, drainage, dust control, as well as environmental issues. Developers asked to cut down protected trees that were not included on the plans. 

Somerset County Gazette: WATER: Drainage issues around the development

"This has been an extremely difficult time for us all, living with a building site next to you and the disruption on its own is bad enough, but we have been faced with so much more," said the residents.

"We have been continently ignored, lied to, and no one has any respect for us or our properties and have complete disregard to all the residents."

A spokesperson for Persimmon Homes Severn Valley added: “We apologise to any residents who have been affected by our Priory Green development.

"We have worked closely with the local authority and local councillors to mitigate the impact on neighbours.

“We have also held regular meetings with local residents to address their concerns and any neighbours with particular issues can always speak to our team.

“We would like to reassure the community that we are now in the latter stages of this development and are downscaling our work in preparation to leave site early next year.”

The residents have contacted SDC's planning department, Persimmon Homes, Chilton Polden Parish Council and the MP for Bridgwater and West Somerset, Ian Liddell-Grainger.

Chilton Polden Parish Council has organised various meetings to help solve the issues.

"The Parish Council has been instrumental in organising various site meetings over a period of time with the developer, county and district councillors along with two visits from our MP – Ian Liddell Grainger to help with the resident’s concerns about this development," a spokesperson said.

Mr Liddell-Grainger said he has visited the site twice with councillors and is 'appalled' by the 'utterly crass and thoughtless behaviour' of Persimmon Homes.

"When a project like this is underway in the middle of a village one might expect a little sensitivity and respect to be shown to the residents," he said.

“Unfortunately this does not seem to be the rule if you are Persimmon homes.

"Their attitude has been beyond arrogant and everyone involved has found them totally impossible to deal with.

"I have written to the chief executive setting out local people’s concerns about the attitude of his company and his workers and have not even had the courtesy of an acknowledgement.”

SDC said they have received the complaints, and have done their best to resolve the issues, but some are not covered by the planning consent.

"We have been working with the developer, local residents and the Parish Council to resolve the issues and concerns raised," a spokesperson for SDC added.