A widow is fuming after her neighbour abandoned work on his half-finished property – leaving their semi-detached countryside cottages looking like a “bomb-site” for the past SIX YEARS.
Susan Bird, 67, says her life has been made hell after her next-door neighbour left behind a shell of a house when he knocked out all his walls and windows in 2012.
The art tutor believes the derelict eyesore that has remained for the last six years is not in keeping with the area in the picturesque village of Burton Overy, Leics.
She has been left to put up with rats, mice, red dust from building work as well as damp and hairline cracks in her walls due to the unoccupied adjoining property.
Susan had moved into her dream 1930s home with her late husband Edward in 1998 when both of the quaint countryside properties were occupied.
But her neighbour, a former farm worker and postman, moved out in around 2000, and the cottage was bought by the owners of nearby Grange Farm in 2005.
In 2006 the new owners were granted planning permission by the council for a large extension to the front, side and rear of their cottage.
The new owners laid the foundations of the extension and six years ago knocked out the front and back walls of the cottage.
But they then disappeared and work ceased on the house leaving behind a derelict mess which has left Susan’s £215,000 property plagued with problems.
She now has CCTV installed around her house and metal security screens on her front windows as she no longer feels safe in her own home.
Susan said: “Life is just horrendous and I feel I’m living in a 365-day a year state of emergency here. The house next door is a bomb site.
“It’s a health risk. I can’t go on living like this and nobody should be made to live like this.
“The dereliction has all but destroyed the looks, value, sense of safety and enjoyment of my own home.
“I’ve had rats, mice, red dust from building work, damp and hairline cracks in my walls.
“I really don’t know how this has been allowed to continue for so long.
“I can’t believe the council has allowed a well-built 1930s home to disintegrate in this way.
“Apart from all the problems it’s caused me, it’s made a shell of a perfectly good house that someone could be living in.
“I’ve considered moving but it took Ed and me 15 years to find this lovely property.
“I feel I’m connected to the landscape here so why should I move?”
Susan said work started on the cottage in 2008 when the owners started ripping out everything and leaving piles or rubble in the road.
Two years later the elevations at the front and back were removed leaving it “completely open to the elements.”
Susan said from 2012 onwards there has been thick dust coming into her house, which had even covered her bath, hairbrush and soaps.
She added: “He just laughed at me, saying ‘how can that get into your house?’
“There were holes created in the party wall without my consent and in 2014 there were rats and mice entering.
“In 2015 I needed a new kitchen as holes were found and blocked off.
“In 2017 there were big bonfires of brash and soil on the land by the house and spoil heaps everywhere.
“This year has been the mother of all years. The farmer talks drivel about every emergency concerning my house.
“Harborough District Council have kicked it into the long grass. They say it’s the farmer’s own land and they cannot interfere.
“But devastation to all my boundaries goes on, so it is not a civil matter.”
The owner of the left hand semi is local farmer David Holman, who said: “I appreciate it’s not ideal, but I haven’t got the time and money to finish the house at the moment.
“I wish that wasn’t the case. I would sooner it was done and someone was living in it.
“The site is secure and relatively tidy and I do what I can to keep Sue happy.”