A homeowner says her family has been put through “hell” by developers next door, and they even ruined their Christmas.

Zoe Vickers, of Bucks Avenue in Oxhey, says work to build 27 new homes on the site of the former Watford Equestrian Centre has caused “nothing but grief”.

Shanly Homes was given permission to build the homes last year, despite opposition from residents in the area, but Ms Vickers says countless problems have affected her property and neighbours since.

The problems appear endless and include leaving an unattended fire burning for two days, breaking a manhole at Christmas and leaving her family dealing with a smell of excrement, blocking her drive with trucks, leaving dirt in the road as vehicles leave the site, piling wet soil against the side of her house while ground was dug up and she says more than anything making an entrance and exit to the site that was dangerous for motorists and pedestrians. (see picture gallery at the top of page)

Watford Observer:

Shanly Homes built a fence but Ms Vickers says it is a blind spot for people leaving the site and those already on the road and path. So much so that she called the Health and Safety Executive who instructed Shanly Homes to install traffic calming measures and mirrors.

Ms Vickers said: “It has been absolute hell. Since last September they have caused us nothing but grief. They have told me they believe the site is well managed which is a joke.

"I've complained countless times and sometimes it's sorted but we never get an apology."

Watford Observer:

In January, Shanly Homes was issued with a temporary stop notice by Hertsmere Borough Council as a construction management plan was not in place. The notice, which prevented any work on the site for a month, was lifted on January 26 after being issued on January 14.

Ms Vickers is not alone in her outrage with Shanly Homes. Heather Stewart, who lives in nearby Lowson Grove, says noise has been her biggest concern and described the process as “extremely stressful”.

Ms Stewart said: "I have had to on an almost weekly basis complain to the site manager about out of hours working and machinery being used from 7am, once even 6.30. It’s obvious there’s going to be noise from a building site but I wasn’t prepared for quite how bad it would be."

While Patrick Stoddard of Sherwoods Road added: “We have become a community over the last two years; not only fighting these plans but coping with the development since. Zoe is getting the brunt of this all but the whole street is being disrupted. The way this has all be done and treated is not good.”

Watford Observer:

The entrance and exit which has caused concerns over visibility

Mayor of Watford Peter Taylor, who was involved as his time as ward councillor in Oxhey, has described the developers as “inconsiderate” and said “residents should not have their lives disturbed and are understandably annoyed”.

He wrote to Shanly Homes managing director Chris Warner on June 28 outlining a number of concerns.

Cllr Stephen Giles-Medhurst has also been involved and says the new junction that has been created at Sherwoods Road and Bucks Avenue is an “accident waiting to happen”.

Watford Observer:

Shanly Homes has apologised for any inconvenience caused and says it wants to “maintain positive relationships with the broader community”.

Stewart Kirk, Regional Managing Director for Shanly Homes, added: “Hertsmere Borough Council’s environmental health officer and planning enforcement officers have visited the site on a number of occasions. These teams were satisfied that our operations are compliant with working hours and within noise level requirements.

“The wood burned during demolition was done so with the prior knowledge of the fire brigade.

“To ensure safe access for all users of the road to Compass Fields, we have installed traffic calming measures and a mirror (this week) to improve visibility of pedestrians.

“We were unaware that the drain came onto our site. As soon as this was brought to our attention, we connected the manhole into our drainage system. The soil against the garages was a result of changing the manhole connection and we apologise for the inconvenience that this caused.”