NOISE caused by construction of a housing development designed to attract people to Inverclyde is reducing neighbours to tears — and driving them from their homes.
The flagship Kilmacolm project is part of a £1m Inverclyde Council scheme to tackle depopulation by providing people moving in to the area with plots of land on which they can build their own homes.
But rock breaking in a Kilmacolm quarry to prepare the ground has been going on since November and is weeks behind schedule.
The work is being organised by Riverside Inverclyde (RI) on behalf of the council.
It goes on from 8.15am to 5.45pm five days a week, and nearby residents say it is so loud their windows are rattling and they are worried about the foundations of their homes being possibly damaged.
One couple says it is so bad they have to flee for most of the day and are spending about £60 a week on meals to stay away from the noise, which is affecting dozens of homes around the Leperstone Avenue site.
Violet Simpson, 71, and her 73-year-old husband, Alexander said their ears are hurting so much they have to get out of their home for hours from Monday to Friday.
Mrs Simpson said: “We keep getting told they are having problems breaking the rock, that they are hitting pockets of hard rock again and again.
“They put up barriers that were supposed to blanket the noise, but they would just be as well using tissue paper for all the good they are.
“They drill in two places at a time and the racket echoes over and over again.”
Mr Simpson added: “Floors are vibrating and ornaments rattling.”
Nightshift care worker Margaret Owen, 59, said she has difficulty getting to sleep during the day.
She said: “I end up lying on the couch and putting the TV on to try to drown out the noise.
“My ears are hurting, and even the shelves inside my oven are vibrating. It gets so bad at times that I start crying.
“My house is also filthy from the dust.”
Margaret Clark, 68, said she was ‘absolutely demented’ by the drilling.
She said: “It’s absolute torture. We just want to live a quiet, peaceful life but this is worse than hell.
“Riverside Inverclyde should compensate us for the noise.”
Councillor David Wilson, who represents Kilmacolm, said he was unhappy about the length of time being taken on the rock breaking.
He said: “I would like to see noise monitors being installed in houses. All of this might be more tolerable if the plots were being made available to residents from Inverclyde, but they are only for people from outside the area.
"No plots have been sold so far. I have raised my concerns with RI.”
A spokesperson for RI said the works at Leperstone Avenue continue to progress within the approved Prior Consent Notice (Control of Pollution Act 1974, Sections 60 & 61).
He said: “This permits allowable working hours for this activity between
7.30am and 6.30pm. The contractor, NRS Group, monitors the noise pollution and vibration levels three times per day from various locations.
“These levels are formally recorded and have not exceeded the limits of the Health & Safety Executive legislation.
“The vibration levels recorded are less than one-tenth of which could cause structural damage. The noise levels peaked on January 30 and 31, but were still below the 85db limit where hearing protection measures are required.
“Acoustic fence matting was installed as a noise reduction measure by the contractor to reduce decibel levels outwith the site.”
The majority of the rock-breaking works, are expected to be completed by the end of February.
The RI spokesman said: “There may be intermittent rock-breaking required after that. The rock breaking is required to contour the site to the required levels and undertake the surface water drainage solution.
“We appreciate this is not ideal for residents, but thank them for the courtesy and patience that is being expressed to our community liaison officer who has been keeping in contact with the residents on site visits.
“The plots will be marketed in the spring.”