“PAINFULLY slow” building works on a busy road have become an “unwelcomed eyesore”, a frustrated councillor has said.

Berechurch councillor Martyn Warnes says annoyed residents have complained about slow-moving work to build a house next to The Grapes pub in Mersea Road, Colchester.

Arbora Planning and Design was given the green light to build a three-bed detached house at the site in December 2020 but the work is still incomplete.

Mr Warnes has now written to the developers associated with the site seeking assurances the work will be completed in line with the approved blueprints.

Gazette: Complaints - Mr Warnes says residents are worried about the pace of the work at the siteComplaints - Mr Warnes says residents are worried about the pace of the work at the site (Image: Martyn Warnes)

He said: “Building works have begun but the progress is painfully slow, and residents have complained to me that the property has become an unwelcomed eyesore.”

The concerned councillor added the property “sticks out like a sore thumb within the neighbourhood”.

In his letter, he wrote: “I would therefore ask what assurances can you offer my constituents as to when this property will be completed as per the plans submitted?”

Photos of the house taken in January and March this year show some work has taken place, with some layers of bricks added in the last few months.

Gazette: Then and now - the site in January and March this yearThen and now - the site in January and March this year (Image: Martyn Warnes)

But with scaffolding, ladders, and building materials left fronting Mersea Road, residents fear the project will not be completed soon.

Can the council step in?

The decision notice published in 2020 stated work must begin within three years from the date planning permission was granted.

As work started before December 2023, Colchester Council is unable to take enforcement action against the developer as the planning conditions have not been breached.

Before the application was approved, Colchester Civic Society wrote to the council to express disappointment a post box had been removed to make way for the new house.

Gazette: Historic - the former post boxHistoric - the former post box

A statement said: “We, the society, and local residents are deeply distressed by the decision for the local post box… to be removed by Royal Mail before planning consent had been acquired for the building project.”

Another resident wrote: “This has removed an amenity for the new property and the area.”

Arbora Planning and Design was approached for comment but had not responded at the time of publication.