A ROMSEY pensioner has slammed building work for a £11.2 million extra-care facility, claiming lorries are blocking a car park used by residents.

Valerie Knox, who lives in Nightingale House, Great Well Drive, hit out at the company Amiri Construction after witnessing lorries double park in front of the car park “three times a week” while the Nightingale Lodge is built next to her home.

Now the 80-year-old has claimed residents living in the retirement flats cannot even have their windows open when lorries are left parked for “three hours” pumping out fumes.

However, business development manager for Amiri Construction, Mark Vincent, has hit back at the claim and said there is “absolutely no way people are double parking for hours on end during the day”, adding they are now “investigating the complaint”.

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Valerie, who is a member for the Nightingale House residents community, said: “Off of Great Well Drive there is a slip road that goes round the back of the site and three times a week lorries have reversed onto the pavement in front of our cars, so when they double park you cannot get through.

“I have had a word with the people on site before and I said ‘don’t do it because the emergency services cannot get through’ and they shrugged their shoulders.

“We also had a woman who delivers food here and she said she had to park at the Nightingale surgery site to carry these meals to our homes and that is not right.”

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She added: “We all have to shut our windows because they overlook the site and the lorries engines are left running for three hours with fumes coming out of them.

“We have a lady who is 95-years-old who lives downstairs and it must affect her because she is confined to her flat and they park continuously outside of her window.

“It is quite traumatic for a lot of older people and we have also had to go over there before and tell them the lorries are shaking the building.

“One lady has told me the glasses in her cabinet case are rattling and the pictures in the hallways have turned sideways, so we are suffering here.”

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Valerie also complained when workmen are having lunch “all of their rubbish comes out onto the pavement, such as plastic bottles”.

She added she has contacted Test Valley Borough Council (TVBC) in a bid to resolve the problem.

When asked about the complaints, Mr Vincent said: “In the age of mobile phones and everything else, there is a possibility someone may have taken a picture of a van dropping something off that was there for two minutes, so there is absolutely no way people are double parking for hours on end during the day.

“We are investigating the complaint, but it is a shame this is the first one that has come through because we have opened our arms to the community and tried to involve them as much as we can.

“We want to be a good neighbour, keep people informed and help them understand what is going on and the changes that are happening.”

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Contracts manager for Amiri Construction, Mike Rozier, added: “I am aware that some vans have been parked outside Nightingale House and due to the COVID-19 situation these have been used for operatives to take their lunch breaks to social distance.

“If engines have been left running and litter left then I sincerely apologise and will ensure this is dealt with.

“Today the team will be laying tarmac to the main front entrance so the entrance off Great Well Drive will be utilised from Monday and will significantly reduce any need to use the rear access gate.”

The scheme is part of major investment Hampshire County Council (HCC) is making across Hampshire to provide extra care facilities for the area’s ageing population.

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A spokesperson from HCC said: “We are sorry to hear of the concerns regarding the work to develop the Nightingale Lodge site.

“We take these seriously and have raised the issue with the developer. They have confirmed they wish to ensure working practices on the site minimise disturbance to the surrounding neighbourhood, and will review accordingly.”

As previously reported in the Romsey Advertiser, Nightingale Lodge was knocked down last year so construction work for the new building could begin.

Previously earmarked to open in the summer, the scheme was pushed back after “unknown ground condition issues” stalled construction, and the launch date is now anticipated for spring 2021.

The former Nightingale Lodge was controversially closed in 2013, after county councillors voted to shut it.