PEOPLE living opposite a construction site in Burry Port have claimed that vibrations have caused cracks in their homes and that the soil where the new properties are being built is contaminated.
Some of them also feel they have lost their privacy as a result of the 22 houses and 10 flats across the road in Glanmor Terrace.
Burry Port councillor John James has asked Carmarthenshire Council, which is behind the £4m project, to issue inconvenience payments to residents. The request has been turned down.
Residents have also raised concerns, among other things, about traffic, parking and dust – and have commissioned testing of two soil samples from the construction site. The land was formerly an open space and before that railway sidings.
One of the residents, Donna Morris, said: “We’ve had meetings with the council but we feel we are not getting anywhere.”
The council said it had responded to every concern raised and that it will continue to do so.
According to Cllr James bungalows were initially proposed for the site but the council said they never were. Cllr James pointed to a council press release about wider Burry Port regneration which said work was under way on the Glanmor Terrace scheme “including apartments and bungalows”.
Cllr James said the preparatory and subsequent construction work on the houses and flats “took its toll on residents from the start” due to the type of heavy machinery used. Work began before the first coronavirus lockdown in March last year.
Glanmor Terrace resident Philip Davies said: “I’ve been in a 7.1 earthquake in Los Angeles and it was like being in an earthquake.”
Another resident, Marc Gower, said: “Fixtures on my wall were vibrating. If I was laying down on my garage floor, working on my car – I could feel it shaking.”
Mr Gower said his wife was doing three night shifts a week in a care home at the time and that she would be in tears because she couldn’t sleep during the day due to the noise opposite.
Alternative machinery was then used by the contractors but, according to some residents, cracks have appeared in their homes.
Surveyors were sent out to investigate and the council has indicated that anyone who felt their property has suffered damage should take professional advice.
According to the authority vibrations resulting from the construction work were well below the level which could cause damage.
Resident Dawn Garfoot said: “It has been horrific living here, what with Covid lockdowns. We feel trapped.”
She said she was instructing her insurance company’s legal department on the cracks issue while another resident, Joanne Coyne, said cracks had appeared in two living rooms and the kitchen of her home.
The testing of soil from the edge of the construction site which was commissioned by residents indicated elevated levels of lead and arsenic. The council said evidence of contaminants had been identified from the outset and that action to mitigate this was carried out satisfactorily and subsequently monitored.
The 32 houses and flats will be let by the council, which has regularly washed the windows of Glanmor Terrace residents, when completed.
In response to the concerns raised Cllr Linda Evans, cabinet member for housing, said the council had made extensive efforts to liaise with residents, including appointing a community liaison officer as a point of contact and visiting every home on Glanmor Terrace.
“We have responded to every concern that has been raised and will continue to offer that level of support,” she said.
Cllr Evans added that the scheme development had been through a thorough planning process.
Shesaid: “The continuous monitoring and mitigation of soil contaminants are part of strict planning conditions for the development including a clean cover system to control contaminants present, which is common practice in the regeneration of brownfield sites.”
These measures, she said, had been “clearly communicated” with the community.
She added: “The construction phase of any development can cause some disruption to residents living nearby, however we have worked carefully with our contractors to manage this and try to keep site activity and movements to a minimum.
“When complete this development will provide 32 good-quality affordable homes for local people.”