OPINION has been split amongst residents of an Andover street as work to build houses on a former car park continues.

Social housing provider Stonewater is in the process of building nine new homes on a former car park in Vespasian Road and refurbish a further 41 existing properties in the street.

The refurbishments include removing porches at the front of houses which are used for storage, and replacing them with bin storage areas, new front doors and block paved driveways.

Work has been underway since late September. But as construction continues residents are raising a range of concerns about the developments.

One person who contacted the Advertiser says the porch areas being removed are not being adequately replaced.

He said: “What they are replacing it with is not suitable for what they have been taking away.

“They are taking down the front sheds and front porches of the houses and they are taking them away and that’s the only storage we’ve got. They’re not replacing it with anything in its place. I think it’s going to be bin storage. The shed is the only storage we’ve got in the property.”

He also says that at many properties the electrics, which are housed in the porch areas being knocked down, are exposed to the elements.

Others have raised additional concerns over health and safety, as the area is turned into what one described as “a building site”, while some have criticised a lack of communication and organisation, with workers seemingly starting on one house then moving onto another before finishing.

They also say the project has already been delayed, with the start pushed back from the summer to late September.

Another neighbour added: “The only concern I have got is health and safety.

“We had the kids around the other day for Halloween and there’s one hell of a ditch been left, but they don’t seem concerned about that. They leave piles of rubble and it’s muddy and slippery.”

However not everyone living in the street has been critical of the situation. Tammy Chivers says she’s pleased with the work that’s been done so far.

She said: “I’m quite happy with it to be honest. We’re getting a new front door and off-road parking – I’m happy.”

Another resident, who has already had the storage area at the front of his property removed, said: “I feel sorry for them because I know they’ve not had the best welcome from people living in the area but I think they are doing good.

“I’m from the building industry myself so I know what it’s like. They are doing a good job, doing what they can, when they can.”

He added: “They can’t do it all in one day can they?”

Darran Porter, operation director at Ashcott construction, the company contracted to carry out the work, says that measures have been taken to minimise disruption during the works.

“We have a road sweeper as and when we need it,” he said. “This week we will get one in on Friday and that will power wash it all down.”

He adds that any electrics have been covered up to protect them from the elements, and says he is always approachable at the site, having been speaking with residents three weeks before the work even began.

“We’re going to work around these people,” he added. “They’ve got to live here, and we’ve got to work here.”

Stonewater has responded to the criticism from residents over the ongoing building work.

A company spokesperson said: “Stonewater’s contractors have been on site at Vespasian Road since September to deliver a regeneration project to build nine much needed new affordable homes and make improvements to some of our existing properties.

“The improvement work will include new block paved driveways, new front and rear doors where required, new boundary fencing, new soft landscaping across the whole site, a bin storage area at the end of each footpath for houses and improved bin storage facilities for the flats.

“Consultation with local residents for this project started in 2012 and has included holding several consultation events and face-to-face meetings have taken place with residents of the properties that are directly affected at each new stage of the project.

“As the project progresses over the coming weeks we will also be writing to those residents that are affected by the closure of a further car park and the creation of additional temporary parking in the third car park.

“Health and Safety is paramount, I can reassure residents that we are completely satisfied that the site is Health and Safety compliant and that Darran and his team are working to a detailed programme of work. Additionally, we have appointed an Employer’s Agent who independently review and monitor Health and Safety on the site as we do on all sites.

“Despite the recent period of wet weather today (Thursday) they are clear of mud.

“Any residents that do have any concerns can either call Stonewater direct on 02380 658836 or if more convenient our site manager from Ashcott, Darran Porter will be available onsite Monday to Friday 9am to 4pm at our site office at Number 31.”