Winkleigh residents have raised concerns over the safety of spoil heaps at a nearby construction site which they described as ‘dangerously high’ and detrimental to health.

Residents next to the High Moor View construction site in Winkleigh are concerned that the spoil heaps are in danger of collapsing into the adjacent road, potentially causing a serious injury.

Penny Griffiths, who lives in Winkleigh, said: ‘It was a beautiful field and it’s now a building site and the construction workers have heaped spoil right up to the hedgerow – a Devon hedgerow. It’s right next to a road and it’s a danger to people – it’s so high it could topple into the road.’

It is not only the height of the spoil heaps that has residents concerned but the health problems that have come from breathing in dust from the heaps.

The current dry spell has only increased the problem, said Ms Griffiths, as the construction workers were failing to dampen the soil to prevent any dispersion. Ms Griffiths added that she knew of several people in the nearby area who suffered with underlying health conditions and was concerned that these were exacerbated by the dust.

She said: ‘It’s endangering the health of the people living here and it’s right next to the school. We have a particular problem with the dust and breathing it in. Residents cannot open windows or put out washing. Their gardens, windows and cars are covered in this reddish, gritty dust.’

She added that the dust problem was so bad that the windows of her house were often covered with a film of dust from the site despite not living directly next to it.

Residents are concerned that Allison Homes, which is responsible for the site, is breaking its own rules on stockpiling which states that spoil heaps should not be placed too close to residential buildings and should be dampened down in dry weather.

Winkleigh residents have turned towards local politicians and have informed Torridge District Councillor Simon Newton MBE and MP for West Devon and Torridge Sir Geoffrey Cox of their worries.

In response to these concerns, Allison Homes South West’s construction director, said: ‘We take on board the comments and feedback from local residents regarding the stock earth piling at our High Moor View development. We would like to reassure residents that we are currently in the process of moving this topsoil which has been stored in preparation for laying down near its current position.

‘We do acknowledge that the pile has been taken too high and therefore we have instructed our ground workers to reduce the height to two metres – also by close of play tomorrow.

‘These material stockpiles are temporary, and we are monitoring the on-site team to ensure material is only stored in allocated areas as per the Construction Environmental Management Plan.

‘We are mindful of also keeping vehicle movement to and from the development to a minimum and this has been a consideration not to cause additional disruption to residents.’