Our home survived Blitz but not builders

Families living in a Victorian terrace in Stepney which survived the Blitz say their homes have �suffered “severe structural damage” from a nearby housing development.

Police were called by residents in Senrab Street to stop builders drilling a soil-testing hole ahead of building work for three social housing homes at Head Street which backs onto their properties.

Helen Giles, who lives in one of the affected houses, said: “Residents were frightened out of their wits, and children and an elderly lady were screaming and crying as walls cracked, floors dropped and plaster fell.”

Karen Pettersen, who shares a home with Ms Giles, said: “Our home is cracked from bottom to ceiling. We have cracks both sides of the hallway, a big crack in the garden wall and the stairways have moved. I no longer feel safe in our home.”

Ms Pettersen said they rallied the street for a petition, but the plans were scaled back and “pushed through”.

She said Tower Hamlets Community Housing, behind the project with developer Durkan Estates, had not been round since the damage �occurred to their �350,000 property three weeks ago.

She said: “They’ve not communicated with us at all since then and not apologised.”

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David Fall called the damage at his 89-year-old mum’s home “horrific” and said seven properties, including his own, suffered similar damage. He said: “She has lived there over 50 years and my father decorated before he died.”

THCH’s development �director Peter Exton said they had just received a geologist’s report which they were reviewing. He said: “Unless it is not financially viable we’ll continue building. But if it’s not safe to continue building there is no way we would do it.”

Durkan development director Daren Nathan said: “We need to digest the report. I promise to update residents by Friday. We are doing everything we can but if we need to improve our communication with residents we will.”