“HAUNTED houses” at Colchester’s former barracks which have laid incomplete for EIGHT years have become a hotbed of criminal activity, it has been claimed.

Mark Jones moved to Lancer Street, off Butt Road, seven years ago after being told by developers construction of the eight-year-old estate would soon be finished.

But row upon row of houses lie abandoned in the neighbouring former Cavalry Barracks after the project was never completed, leaving the site prone to troublemakers.

However, developer Bovis Homes says homes will be available for sale this year.

“It’s just been years and years of no progress,” said Mr Jones.

Gazette: Crime - the site has been targeted by criminalsCrime - the site has been targeted by criminals

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“It has attracted the wrong crowds as people can essentially do whatever they like over there.

“We’ve seen drug dealing, vandals, arson, property damage and car vandalism; you can only stomach so much.

“People have been living in there and the police are constantly having to chase them away. The one thing we always worry about is arson, there has always been fires in there.

“The police have also had to move on shady vans over the years.

“There were even kids out smashing things up at the houses the other day and it gets boarded up, so somebody, somewhere is keeping an eye on it and maintaining it and is aware of the ongoing problems.”


The Cavalry Barracks was the earliest permanent barracks of its kind at Colchester Garrison, constructed in 1862.

The garrison area was overhauled during the phasing of facilities being moved to Merville Barracks when work commenced at the turn of the century.

Mr Jones, 46, added he worries it could now become impossible to sell his house, should he and his family decide to move in the future.

He said: “They are really nice houses but you’re right opposite a set of haunted houses, with no explanation to a potential buyer as to when this may be fixed.


“We feel a bit hoodwinked as I remember a attractive model of what it was going to look like being placed in the now abandoned sales office.

“To be honest, I’m shocked it hasn’t been completed. It’s become an in-joke between us all.”

A spokesman for Bovis Homes said: "The preparatory work to deliver the exciting plans involving the refurbishment of these historic buildings is under way, and the bespoke new homes being created will offer a fantastic opportunity for home hunters and will be available for sale later this year.”