HEALTH and safety experts have halted work on an “unauthorised” extension to a home which they fear could collapse.

Work began at the privately-owned house at 30 Goring Road, Colchester, in May.

Because the planned changes fell within Colchester Council’s permitted development, the addition of two dormer windows and a three-metre extension to the back of the home did not need planning permission.

However, concerns were raised by neighbours when it became clear the 3m extension to the end-of-terrace home would encroach on the right-of-way pathway of at least two neighbours whose homes are owned by Colchester Borough Homes.

When housing bosses were alerted, they called in experts from the Health and Safety Executive to survey the building and the work going on.

Representatives visited and the executive raised concerns especially about how scaffolding had been put up around the house.

They believed the scaffolding to be “weak” and found the building could be at risk of collapse.

A stop notice was subsequently issued on the property.

Colchester Borough Homes has separately sought to contact the homeowner to find a compromise so the residents’ right-of-way is not affected by the development.

But bosses say the developer has “ignored” the approaches.

Neighbours have also spoken about their three month nightmare, which has seen the immediate neighbour’s loft partially exposed to the elements.

Gazette: Goring Road extension problemn

One neighbour said: “We just couldn’t believe it when it all went up.

“We were wondering how it didn’t need planning permission but it turns out there aren’t any planning issues with it.

“The council really only took an interest when we told them how it would affect our access to the street.

“The Health and Safety Executive told us they couldn’t say it wouldn’t collapse but no-one has ever answered me when I asked: ‘Would you want your child sleeping next to building which could collapse?’.”

Another neighbour added: “It’s been a nightmare from minute one. We’ve never felt comfortable with what’s been happening.

“We know the owner had been trying to let out the place or sell it but I don’t think there was much interest in it because of the right-of-way.

“Then all of a sudden there are plans to cover the path. It felt a bit on purpose to me.”

The pair also said the property’s back garden, which backs onto a field beside the Oak Tree Centre, was not secured during the work.

Gazette: Goring Road extension problemn

They say it has led to flytipping and antisocial behaviour but a wooden board has now been nailed to the back fence to prevent access.

A Colchester Borough Homes spokesman said: “Following concerns we had about the works being undertaken at the property at Goring Road and the impact it could have on our tenants living next door, we asked the Health and Safety Executive to carry out an inspection.

“They raised concerns about the safety of the scaffolding and ordered this be resolved before it was used again.

“We are also aware the rear extension on the property will potentially block the shared access to the properties of our tenants.

“We take any potential impact on the quality of life for our tenants seriously and have been seeking to work with the property owner and construction company to find a solution.

“However, so far they have ignored our approaches. We are now assessing all of our options, including potential legal proceedings, to get the issue resolved.”

The prohibition notice states: “The scaffold as it was, was not safe to work on due to being incomplete and untied, therefore risk of person or materials falling or collapse.

“All practicable steps have not been taken to prevent danger to any person, to ensure the existing structure or any part of the structure which may be unstable or in a temporary state of weakness/instability due to the carrying out of construction work does not collapse; temporary works have not been planned or installed.”