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Kiltarlity families at their wits’ end over shaking homes

By Ellie House

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Chloe Hardy in her garden close to the work
Chloe Hardy in her garden close to the work

FAMILIES say they are being forced out of their own homes by building work which is causing their properties to vibrate.

New homes are being constructed at Balgate Mill in Kiltarlity, but people living close by say the use of heavy machinery there is making them feel like they are experiencing constant earth tremors.

They are also worried about the effect the work might be having on their properties’ foundations.

Margaret Davidson, ward councillor for the area and leader of Highland Council, said she had spoken to construction firm William Gray, which insists it works legal hours within permitted noise limits as set by environmental health.

But Chloe Hardy, 39, who has lived at Balgate Mill for four years, said the vibrations from the building work had become so bad this week she was forced to go and stay with a friend in Edinburgh.

She added: “It has taken its toll. I should be able to relax in my own house but it has been a long time since I was able to do that.

“I’ve tried everything but feeling my floorboards vibrate and seeing my radiator practically come off the wall – no-one should have to live with that.

“I complained last week and was told that the machinery which causes the vibrations was now finished with but come Monday it started up again like clockwork.

“I can deal with the noise to a degree but the situation is having a real impact on my day-to-day life due to all the vibrating.”

Miss Hardy, who works for the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association, is also a student but often has to decamp to the library in Inverness to get work done.

She rarely opens windows and sees little point in getting to work on her garden which backs onto the building site because the noise outside is intolerable.

She said: “Time and time again I’ve complained and my house starts shaking at eight in the morning.

“It’s pretty horrific to live in these circumstances and I shouldn’t have to move because of the noise.

“I feel very alone in standing up to William Gray but someone has to because it is making my life a misery.”

Fellow resident Christy Surtees, who lives in Kiltalorcan Terrace, said the vibrations travelled throughout the area.

“We don’t even live particularly close by but we can feel the vibrations, particularly in the morning when they start up,” she said.

“I don’t open my windows and I don’t even do any gardening because I don’t see the point.

“We can’t sit outside and enjoy it, it’s a dreadful situation to be in and I’m not surprised that those living even closer are so upset about it.”

It is not known how long work will continue, but information about the development on the William Gray website describes the area as a “thriving community.”

Mrs Davidson told the Courier: “This isn’t the first time I’ve been forced to have a word with William Gray.

“It’s certainly not nice to live in a house in these circumstances and it isn’t acceptable.”

Environmental Health installed a noise monitor in Miss Hardy’s garden in 2014 but the council said it did not hold records going back that far, so was not able to comment on whether limits had been exceeded.

Miss Hardy is considering asking for compensation due to the impact the building work has had on her life.

Dougal Murray, commercial director of William Gray Construction, insisted all work had been carried out according to permissions.

“We can only apologise for any inconvenience to local residents,” he said.

“The work was very short in terms of duration and the noise levels were within the permitted standards.

“Environmental Health inspected the site following a complaint and confirmed we were working within the agreed limits.”

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